Our first big exam is coming up on Friday. We have already had some smaller quizzes and evaluations, but this will be our first really big one. It really shouldn’t be too bad, but you wouldn’t know it based on the opinions expressed by my classmates last week. When asked how much I was going to study this past Labor Day weekend, I honestly told them “very little, if at all”. I got a lot of wide eyes with that comment.
I am specifically talking about three or four people in one of my small group activities. They get pretty worked up about everything, and I don’t really see how they learn anything. In lecture a few days ago they would constantly ask each other (and me) annoying questions like:
“What did he say? How do you spell that? How do you know that? Why does it have to be that way? How do you know that? How do you spell that?”
I’m surprised they were able to hear enough of the lecture to ask questions about it, much less learn anything. I do try to learn a few things in lecture, every now and then. In fact, all the way through undergrad, I have been able to sit in lecture, hear what is told to me, and then promptly regurgitate all of that knowledge onto an exam a few weeks later. I think I also have a special kind of laser-like focus, such that I remain completely engrossed in the lecture or totally concentrated on my iPhone.
So anyways, we have all kinds of time given to us to study for this exam, so that’s beautiful. We still have to learn things that are most likely pointless knowledge. For example, I spent a good portion of the day re-learning the steps and enzymes in metabolism. Our lecturer today told us we will need to know this stuff exactly twice. Once on Friday for the exam, and again next year for Step 1. After that, we can just look it up on the Interweb.
Anyways, (I’m so good at transitions. I just switch to my new topic and let you catch up). So anyways, lots of crazy stuff happened over the long weekend. I wanted to touch on two things and tie them in with my main point for the night. In case you were distracted while watching for another post from this blog, I’ll help catch you up. First things first, the Slane girl. A few weeks ago a young girl got a little extra friendly with a guy at an Eminem concert in Slane. Over the last few days this has spawned multiple memes and quite the commotion over some social stereotypes (the women is considered a slut, but no one seems to hold the guy accountable here either). Interestingly, she is claiming sexual assault, and I think she may be a minor.
Then there is the slightly more important tension with Syria. The crazy guy who runs Syria is apparently using chemical weapons (WMD’s) to murder his own people, and Obama may or may not do something about it, depending on what Congress says. I’m not even going to bother linking that, since it will continue to develop even as I write this. Needless to say, no one seems to have any idea what’s happening, especially in Washington D.C. I know this because I was stuck in yet another auto store today and forced to watch CNN, where I saw the hearings. There was lots of posturing and nonsense from both sides, and no one was thinking clearly. Interestingly, however, they used the word “reality” a lot.
I thought that was interesting. One person would express an opinion, and they would then be either reassured or rebuffed by an appeal to “the reality of the situation”. What’s interesting is that reality is the state of things as they actually exist, not the way we perceive them.
And so, of course, my way of viewing reality is the right way. “&$#! no it isn’t,” you think as you reach for your mouse to email me. And you’re right as well. To you, your way of viewing the world is reality, and mine is just a construct. Some people think the girl from Slane is a slut. Some think that everyone there is terrible for even going to an Eminem concert. Others are reading that article, grateful that there were no cell phones at concerts/parties they had attended in the past. I think we should probably get involved in Syria, but my neighbor wants nothing to do with it.
Fact is, both of our views are probably constructs. Since our view of reality is shaped by so many factors, many of which are completely out of our control, it is unlikely we will ever experience enough of the world or life to be able to claim we have a grip on “reality”. I was fortunate enough to be born in a wealthy, middle class American family. I have no knowledge of living paycheck to paycheck, I have never had my utilities turned off, and I have never been in any real danger of becoming broke, as I have a small army of friends and family members that would help me out if I really needed it. That’s reality for me. Others know the flip side, so reality for them is a much grittier experience.
I’m not saying “reality” doesn’t exist. As a concept, it certainly does. It just isn’t a concept we could ever conceivably grasp enough of to ever claim we understand it. Any time you hear someone tell you what the world is actually like, they really are saying something like “This is the way the situation seems to me, based on how I see the world”. Does anyone actually think that John Kerry (and his hair, rumored to be an entirely separate, sentient organism) actually understand what life is like on the ground in Syria now?
So undoubtedly some of my classmates are still at the medical school right now, frantically making flash cards and studying even harder to get 102% on the first exam. Out of 40 exams. Out of one year of medical school. Whatever. That may just be worth it to them.
(I’m also really good at conclusions. I just end the post and go watch Netflix)
Thanks for reading!