Saturday, July 19, 2008

No friendly faces

I've been taking classes over at Overland Park, KS, and I was struck this morning with how much of a difference there is in the atmosphere here vs. with my Colorado Cohort. I found myself sitting at the back of the room this morning, which I don't believe I have intentionally done since I was in middle school. Why did I do this? Because there was nobody to sit with!

It's amazing that a person such as myself, who is typically very friendly and "makes new friends while keeping the old," cannot find a person to sit next to. It's a different atmosphere even from classes that I've taken at Emporia. For some reason, the people here in Overland Park are a bit more uptight, so serious, and so...well, not very much fun. It makes me very sad to see this happening.

Let me give you an example so that you can maybe understand this issue a bit more concretely. I have been participating in a group project where, frankly, our outcome is much more boring than I would ever have wished to attach my name to. I suggested adding more pictures, clips, or whatnot and was met with blank stares. "Fun? Pictures? Making people laugh? This is graduate school! We don't make people laugh. We get a grade by following our assignment." How supremely frustrating to encounter a group of people who spend their time jumping through hoops rather than using the experience as a journey from which they can learn from.

Within my Cohort, one of my cohort members said it best- "I started grasping the program and doing well as soon as I stopped taking myself and the program so seriously." No kidding! I found that I had arrived once I had written a paper using "Where do babies come from?" as one of my sub-titles in reference to rural library funding and staffing issues. A sense of humor is so vitally important to bringing life to an otherwise mundane and rote subject.

Hopefully, one day, I may run into these people and see them crack a smile. At least then I'll know that at some point from now until then, they were able to loosen up and get past the grade and start learning. Until that happens though, I guess I will just continue to sit in the back.