10 March 2006

double oh seven

so one of my friends is in 2.007 at MIT and sounds like she's having a lot of the same thoughts i had when i was in the class. in some ways it's good seeing that i wasn't the only one who wasn't overly thrilled at this class. but it's also bad in other ways because i remember very clearly how miserable i was there.

everyone in the class and everyone involved with the class seems to act like of course you want to compete and win... that this is fun. it wasn't fun. and i didn't really learn anything in that class. wait. i should change that remark. i didn't learn what they expected me to learn. i learned about myself. and i learned about what i wanted. but i didn't really learn design. i didn't learn design until i started working on things that i actually cared about. the main reason i hated 2.007 -- everyone acted like they thought i should be passionate about this and i hated myself for not being that way. i kept thinking there was something wrong with me for not enjoying what the other students seemed to find thrilling. and that made me feel like a bad engineer.

there were no other options; either i wanted to compete and win, or i was wrong. it never really dawned on me then that maybe i wasn't a bad engineer at all, that maybe they weren't presenting the material in a way i could get. the professor just seemed out to try to be considered cool by the students. lectures were manic. i couldn't follow anything. not to mention, teaching design in a lecture setting is pointless... at least for me. i can't understand things unless i can feel them... can play with them. and by the time i got back to the lab, i was so distracted by the prof's antics that i couldn't remember anything anyway. so i stopped going to lecture. the textbook wasn't helpful either. and my lab supervisor was completely unhelpful. so what was i left with? no support. and students who thought i was wrong. and then i just got laughed at for being "too artistic."

dear GOD i hated that class. and now one of my friends is there. and i just laugh (not in a condescending way... in an understanding way) that she's really just wanting to make some sort of kinetic sculpture. cause i was there. and i somehow made it through. and it's hard to fight against an existing way of teaching for something that's equally, if not more, difficult and valid. but you learn so much more when you care about what you do. i want her to care. and i want her to be happy. but most importantly, i want her to realize that following what you're passionate about (in her case, wanting to do something not to win) is important and that even if a whole bunch of people give you rules, you should just find ways to work around/within them and still do what you want.

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