Friday, December 5, 2008


About two weeks ago I missed my government class due to illness. I heard later that the instructor went over the final exam, and said we could review as much as we wanted to prior to answering the essay questions.

O.K., I've never completed an essay only test before. Tuesday afternoon the test questions are emailed to me. OH MY GOODNESS! How am I to answer these questions?! I did all this reading, over 40hours of book reading for five class meetings and I don't know how I'm going to articulate what I learned and frankly I'm thinking I did not learn anything, as in teaching myself.

If I did not learn from this experience then have I gained anything over the year of almost weekly colloquiums? What am I doing with myself??? Needless to say I quickly thought I might as well give up...

Wednesday afternoon I spent a few hours going over The Virginian. Owen Wister wrote this American cowboy novel to depict the natural aristocracy in the development of the western United States and the results of corruption in local government.

I went to class with the idea that I would not take another class after this. To my GREAT surprise, we were having oral exams. I looked at Jodi and she said, "Oh I forgot to tell you that part." Frankly I was glad she did not tell me because it could have been enough to keep me from going and would add unwanted stress.

So there I was, thinking fine, I'll do what I can. Interestingly as I listened to other students answering what they could there was much I too could not fully answer in my mind but I was surprised that additional knowledge was coming back to me. Wow, maybe I did learn some. I think the hard part is seeing the connection of concepts and having never been interested in government it's been hard to motivate myself beyond just getting the reading done.

I finally went up to the hot seat and tried to answer what was placed before me. The questions are all vague now. I remember talking about family, gay marriage, Three Cups of Tea, and other things. I think I hung in there o.k. The experience showed me that I really do want to push myself to take my learning seriously.

Ultimately, I left with a different feeling for the experience of doing all the required reading. I truly need help in writing or taking notes while I read. I know I wont go back later to copy things down. So I need to change that about me. The lack of reviewing on my part is a BIG hold back as well.

Here I am today. I sent 5 hours writing my essay answers. I decided to write a pre-review essay. This is quite helpful to me because I see where I want to focus my attention when I start my reviewing. I intend to add my post-review answers in blue so I and the instructor can view what I added and where I decided to direct my attention. I want to expand each of the 28 principles of liberty.

I feel back on track again. It's rewarding trying to bring these ideas and thoughts out of the dark recesses of my mind. And dare I say it's fun too. Well it has been.

My decision is made for next semester. As BYU won't let me know for two more weeks and the classes I wanted to take are full, I will take an American History class through 1776 at GWU. This summer I hope BYU will be offering Hebrew, Latin, or Greek.

And there you have it.


Anonymous said...

I'm proud of you for making a hard choice! You're an amazing woman!

Nickie said...

Oh Jenny,

we are all amazing when we are trying to improve and asking God to help us along the path.

It's great to be stretching myself. Boy I did not think I'd be happy to say that about myself.

Good luck to you too on your exams.

I wish I could take Tiffany's class too.