Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Real Life University

I haven't written anything in a while here; not that I stopped trying or thinking about it, I just kind of stalled out. Seems to happen to me every few months when I blog - I had the same thing back in the New Adventures. Not sure why it happens. Anyways, we're back in AA and back on the blog.

I've been talking to a friend recently about the concept of 'real life university', the idea of shaping your education to get exactly what you want out of it, not what your professor or degree program thinks you should learn. The structure of classes, grades, and curricula are useful in some aspects of learning but not all. Erik - who launched the idea and is implementing it full swing this semester - lists 'too impersonal', 'lots of irrelevant material', and 'inefficient' as reasons to rely less on classes and more on yourself to learn.

Everybody's RLU is going to be different. I drafted up a hypothetical one-semester syllabus for what my RLU would look like, which I'll share here. Although I agree somewhat with Erik's rationales, for me the primary item can be summarized as 'classes focus on what you know rather than who you are'. Of course, no class should ever be designed to change who you are, unless you are the only one designing it and the only one taking it. Thus, real life university, as a supplement to (rather than a replacement) for normal class.

So what do I want to learn? Well, what would YOU want to learn? Just thinking about it can teach you a lot. The classes I drafted up for myself have couple of purposes:


-become a more interesting person

-work on tools for success in the real world (everybody knows straight As don't guarantee success, things like communication are far more important)

So here's what I came up with:

Long-term projects:

-Start a micro-business

-Networking 101 (5% theory, 95% practice)

-Make a real attempt at art

-Being deliberately far more social in everyday life

-101 Experiments in Perspective (a list of things to knock you off your everyday roll, like 'call yourself', 'take a nap in the middle of the sidewalk', etc.)

Short-term projects (not limited to):

-Meditate for an entire day

-Live homeless for a weekend

-Exercise in overwhelming honesty for a time

-Exercise in overwhelming generosity for a time

-Random things to screw with comfort zones (like playing at the piano lounge)

These classes, although most are project-based, include homework in the form of writings/blogs, reading good books, and talking to other people about the ideas.

I mentioned in the previous blog the concept of travel as 'getting a minor in life', and here we are at the same topic again. I guess I'll be double-minoring. I'm going to be taking this curriculum down part by part. This semester, my main class is 'be deliberately more social'.

I'm also taking a sort of dive into the arts this semester, which on paper would sound awful to me but I'm actually really looking forward to. I have a class called Creative Process, which is mostly art and design. I'll also be taking yoga, tango and possibly salsa classes as well as continue to teach myself piano. I have a very easy semester class-wise, so having free time is going to be great.

1 comment:

  1. can't wait to see where this takes you. love the syllabus you sent me -- let's talk about it soon.