Project Emily Advent: Day 20

Project Emily Advent: Day 20

What is your favorite way to learn?

When I went into college from homeschool, the hardest thing for me was not the academic work, but learning how the classroom functioned generally and adapting to each professor’s particular teaching style. Each one had different rules, different expectations. For someone who considers herself pretty adaptable, this was still a lot for me to grasp. Some seemed to want a hearty back and forth discussion with their class, some seemed to only want to talk at their students for the entire class period. Some assigned lengthy textbook reading, some told us to not even bother to buy the textbook. Some were clear about their rubrics and expectations, some were very, very unclear. I find it generally impressive that students are able to make these adjustments and thrive in various classrooms. Some don’t, I suppose.

I love to read, and a book is usually all I need to really dig into something that interests me. But if I really want to learn something that I don’t have much context for, I need close instruction. If I am learning a physical skill or something conceptually very complicated, my favorite way to learn is with a lot of feedback. Ingest information. Try. Receive feedback. Adjust. Try again. Nothing infuriated me more than receiving a piece of written work back from a professor with a grade and no feedback. If I made a 90% on a paper, I need to know where those 10 points went. And I often went to office hours to find out. I wanted feedback, I wanted instruction. Taking my A-minus and leaving was not enough for me. I was there to learn.

My sociology professors encouraged a lot of dialogue in their classrooms, and it was a perfect environment for feedback. A sociological theory was introduced, then the class was expected to come up with examples of that theory at play in our society, followed by a yes, you’re getting this or no, try again from our professor. I always, always participated. Is this what you mean? Am I getting this right? I never really felt afraid of asking questions or getting it wrong. I think that may be a positive effect of homeschooling, a secure belief that my teachers were always on my team.

I wish that receiving feedback in relationships was as clear cut as it is in the classroom. I wish that people were like the good professors, that they would give me a rubric of their expectations for our relationship. That I could ask questions and that they would immediately know the answers. That they could explain, with clarity and detail, where I went wrong or how I could do better. What went wrong? How are you hurt by my words or actions? Is this what you mean? Am I getting this right? But it never works like that. Most are not experts on their own hearts.

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On Beauty and Motherhood

I put on makeup every day for 30 days. I didn’t wear makeup every day before I had my daughter, so I surely didn’t prioritize it after she was born. One day in January, I realized that I liked how I felt when I wore makeup, so I thought I would conduct a little experiment. I wanted to see how it would make me feel to wear it every day for 30 days. Depending on the results, I may consider making a concerted effort to wear it daily.

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Project Emily Advent: Day 25

My maternal grandfather, Papa, was a great and wild soul. He was particularly close with my sister, Bailey. He loved all of his grandchildren, and made a particular effort to show up in each of our lives. But Bailey was Papa's best girl. He was totally smitten with her. He was a friendly and warm person, but he could be bristly at times, and Bailey seemed to be the only person undeterred by his bad moods. She was every bit his equal in fortitude and stature of personhood.

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No joke.