With the beginning of the Fall semester this year I tailored down my schedule to only one class for multiple reasons, one of the main ones being that I felt it would decrease my stress.  To a certain extent it’s working, but I fear that it’s at the sake of my sanity.  At the beginning of every class my professor comes in and puts up a quote on the projector and has the whole class read it aloud.  It’s something about finding a career by finding yourself, blah blah blah.  I feel like I’m in elementary school reciting the pledge of allegiance every day, or in an alcoholics anonymous meeting repeating the same thing every week but secretly never meaning it.

The whole point of the class is to find what career path you are best suited for and encourage you to pursue it.  Part of that is accomplished by various personality tests which are then used in comparison to the job you currently occupy to determine whether or not you’re suited to be where you are in life right now.  Most of the time the answer is no.  How convenient.  It all seems so hokey to me.  I don’t like putting myself up on an examination table to be poked and prodded only to be told that I’ve made dumb choices in life and need to take a whole new direction in life.  If that’s really the case, chances are I’ll get to the point where I can make that decision myself without having to sit through a ridiculous 15 week course where I repeat a dumb mantra every class meeting.

I’m all for self-improvement and working to reach your full potential, but I fully believe that I have the ability to do that on my own.  I know what my opinion of my current career choice is, and I know where I want to be in 5 years.  Heck, I know where I want to be in 10 years.  Maybe for some people it’s not that easy.  I just feel incredibly restricted in this course, like I’m being told by someone that doesn’t know me what I should be doing with my life based on a personality test I had to take for the course.  Didn’t she get the memo that I don’t like being told what to do?  I’m pretty sure I’ve faxed it to anyone I come in contact with more than once just to make sure they’re aware.

On top of all that, the class is very much interaction oriented, and every class includes a large amount of discussion and ends in some form of group exercises where you’re lumped in with other people of your “type” and you all discuss things that you supposedly do the same way.  What does this mean to me?  It means she specifically states in her syllabus that no laptops are allowed and cell phones must be turned off.  I will grudgingly abide by the former, but she can pry my blackberry from my cold dead hands before I turn it off and put it away.

I have extreme ADD and do not like having to focus on only one thing at a time.  My mind races and I can’t concentrate and I’ll quickly lose interest and my mind will wander.  However, throughout my years of undergraduate and graduate studies, I’ve found that having my laptop helps me to divide my focus and enable me to actually pay better attention.  I know it sounds strange to say that splitting my focus makes me more attentive, but it’s true.  My mind works much better when it’s chugging away at three or four things at a time (ie, listening to the professor, surfing internet on laptop, texting on blackberry, etc.), and without that my mind races with no real goal in sight.  Suffice it to say, without my laptop in this class I find myself staring at the walls and not being able to focus on the professor for 3 hours as she rambles on and on about how extroverted she is.  I get it – you’re loud and happy about it.  Can I play on my computer now?