Daily Archives: February 2, 2016

Can You Repeat Yourself On Paper Please?

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My view, at this current moment.

Ignore my frantic scrambles and scribbles of disemboweled equations on the papers in front of me. As you can see, I work with pen. When you don’t have an IQ in the 200’s, using pen with math is essentially like engraving (and paying for) “Swag, Swag, Swag” on your headstone when you’re sixteen and not rationally competent enough to see that when you’re 90 and coughing blood in the hospital, the last thing you want family, friends, and strangers to remember you by is some clip from a Justin Bieber Music Video.

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Unless you really adore Justin Bieber and the concept of “swag”. In which case . . .

Explain. In the comments below. Explain it.

And I want concrete details to prove your point.

I’m sitting in what we call “study rooms”. Technically groups of 2 or more have priority, but if you know anything about timid, frantic college students, it’s that they would much rather sit off privately than dare open my door and create conflict over the fact that I am only one human.

As I speak, a girl peeked into the giant windows to see if someone was in the room. Our eyes met briefly. She scrambled away.

That’s right. Run. 

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Very rarely do I study in groups. I reject the premise that you “learn better” with group work. Perhaps you learn better if you have the stellar ability to comprehend conversation without struggle. I, however, do not posses that skill.

Tutors intimidate me. They speak very quickly (on the account that they have to get to so many people here) and they’re more likely to explain a concept to you in the way that they understand it rather than having ample amount of time and training to figure out the way you understand things.

When it comes to math, I am a visual learner. I’d rather someone just show me how to do the problem. If they talk me through it I get thoroughly confused.

My friend wanted to sign up for a tutor for our math class for him, me and another one of our math buddies but I declined. The group wouldn’t just be us three, it would be up to 8 other people. Too many people talking, too many questions, too much pressure. My anxiety would distract me and I’d focus more on what everyone else is doing and what they’re struggling with rather than my own questions.

Google, Wolfram Alfa, and a solutions manual are my tutors. They’ve never failed me. I never feel insecure around them; I feel like I can ask them anything and they’ll provide an answer I can understand. I can look at each step and identify what I’m having trouble with, note it for later, and try other problems that cause me to use the new skill I just learned.

Tutors are people.

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They lean over your shoulder and drool on your paper and if you get stuck with an arrogant one, they spew their arrogance all over you in some kind of weird, auto-erotic smart-person ritual.

At least, some of them here do.

I’ve been a tutor before and I don’t mind helping people who learn better with someone by their side. I am not one of those people.

I get overwhelmed when one person says hi to me and another says hi a second later; how the hell am I going to be able to focus when I’m stuck in a noisy ass room where tens of people are talking and laughing and the tutor is over my shoulder trying to say words I can’t comprehend.

If I had a private tutor in a library setting, perhaps that would work. But even then, they’d have to be committed to me because I don’t learn like the average person.

I’m the slowest, faster learner I know.

Let me give you a visual of my brain.

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Looks a lot like yours, I’m willing to bet. Although . . . the hell is that hole? The fuck? Is that why speech is so hard for me to understand?

Imagine the little squiggles on that brain (I’m not claiming that brain anymore, it’s got holes man) is a motorway. Imagine there are hundreds of thousands of tiny little cars with four wheel drive speeding around those turns and up all the mountain ridges and expelling exhaust like all cars do. Imagine there are little people road raging, and little people driving the speed limit and little people parking and little people cursing at the sky (my skull) because of the little parking ticket on their little car window they found after coming out of the little cafe with their little cup of coffee.

The little cars and the little people are my thoughts. They’re all over the place. Some are faster than others, some like to sleep during the day and wake during night and spend the dark hours speeding down the motorway and making donuts in vacant parking lots just to hear me complain.

They know I’m not a merciful God, and they know I can’t physically get rid of them, so they like to fuck with me.

Little bastards.

At any rate, they help me make decisions. Some of them are in charge of doing this math for me. The smart, wise, elders are in the back of my brain in the medulla and other such areas, controlling my breathing and heart rate and all that important stuff. They don’t really concern themselves with all ruckus of the rest of my brain.

The loose, edgy, punk rock “FREEDOM!!!” shouters all cram in my frontal cortex and they do 66549618cb2f797cc13dae370dd74d5edoughnuts in the middle of the day and laugh while they run from the little brain police.

I don’t know what all the middle guys are doing. Fucking around, probably.

But when I am confronted by someone, somewhere a little car slams on its little brakes and four other little cars slam on their little brakes and suddenly all the little cars slam on their little brakes. Some vagabond road ragers jump out into the street, but freeze upon being confronted by the booming voice of whoever I’m talking to.

They slowly move little debris to the side of the road and slowly repair their cars and slowly drive along the motorway again. But it takes a lot to get their little cars going. Some of them just stay in the middle of the road and cause an ever larger jam for the few little cars that can move.

As a result, it’s hard for me to understand verbal words. They muck up my brain. I can handle general conversation, unless that person talks fast and then I get overwhelmed and sit out of the conversation. My ideas don’t spurt as quickly as they do when I have paper in front of me. It happens when I’m anxious and it happens when I’m not anxious.

Sometimes I choose not to talk simply because I can’t keep track of the conversation. I can’t come up with ideas as fast as everyone else. In order for me to process a conversation, I have to write it down.

Speaking is also a challenge. I have to drag the words through sludge to get them off my tongue.

It’s why I thrive in college. The majority of lectures are: this person talks, you write what you understand.

High School was: work in groups and figure it out together.

It’s a criticism I have of public education. It’s catered to one specific type of person and it tries to mold you into that specific type of person.

That didn’t work. I just ditched all my classes that required I learn that way. And I still graduated. With about 50 or 60 unaccounted for absences in my senior year alone.

I remember laughing about it.

If you ace all your tests, you’re home free.

Because that’s all they really care about.

 

 

 

 

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