Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grad vs. Undergrad, Politics

It has been an interesting experience for me to attend grad school at the same place I did my undergrad work. I recently had a discussion with a prof about this and heard his experiences; since he teaches both undergrads and graduate students. One the biggest differences is just simply the maturity of the students. Grad students are further along in life, have more experiences, as well as a better appreciation for the money being spent to attend. The other big difference is that of the learning environment in the classroom. While in my third semester as a grad student I have yet to take an old fashioned test. Instead my biggest assignments are projects and papers. My profs are much more worried about my ability to process and interact with material than my ability to memorize and recall it. Concerned about understanding how the issue or topic fits into the big picture of life and faith. We also benefit from smaller classes which allow for better conversation and discussion.I find now that how much I learn or am personally challenged in a class is sometimes determined by my fellow students and their contributions. The two education styles are drastically different and I am enjoying my post grad work immensely.

\While shooting the breeze at a poker table this week the subject of conversation inevitably turned to politics. I rolled my eyes at the predictable statements about Obama from his fans and detractors. I interrupted the conversation and asked some follow up questions to all commentators. What has Obama done that was so great? How about so horrible?  What would you have done differently? Resounding silence.....shuffling of chips.......The subject was changed to the Super Bowl and sports betting, I really didn't think much about the conversation until later that night.  Then something occurred to me that has really stuck with me. When it comes to politics America is a nation of undergrad students. Too focused on memorizing and recalling information than analyzing or processing it. Not able to see the big picture of an issue but instead mindful only of what they are being told. America sits in silence and takes notes instead of engaging their peers in an intelligent conversation.

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