I’ve been coming home from school every day this week kind of struck by how prepared I am for college despite never being in a classroom setting for ~8 hrs/day before. I hadn’t thought about how fighting tooth and nail for my education, and seeing it through myself, and teaching myself through high school would be helpful in a college setting. Really this just shows you how much (zero) I know about schools, because this morning I had an epiphany about homework.
Which was that: I did the exact same thing that everyone else did. My school entirely consisted of what most people experienced as homework. I just didn’t have anyone to actually teach me the things. I never understood what “homework” was when people asked me if I had homework after school….because that was all I did – what I really didn’t understand was what school was. I didn’t have anyone giving a lecture on multiple things every single day, painstakingly explaining the same thing on a whiteboard three different ways so it makes sense. If I was lucky, my mom would read the instructions paragraph out loud, or a chapter of a textbook.
I didn’t have deadlines or tests or quizzes, I barely had grades. My parents stopped actively educating me when I was 10 and started bragging about it the second they found out that I was self-driven enough to do the work if only I were handed the tools. So when I say I taught myself through highschool, I mean it.
College right now feels complicated. Homework is sort of hard because it feels a lot like that right now, and the thing is it’s hard in a good way. I feel ready and prepared for this because I had to fight so hard to get here, because to have an education in the first place I had to do the exact same thing that I am doing now. But also, it’s not remotely the same or familiar.
My instinct is to write down the things I don’t know to look up later, because the concept of a teacher I can ask questions to is still foreign to me (despite trying very hard to have and ask questions in every class). I have to consciously remember that the entire point of being in class is so I have a chance to get information without google, in a way that is probably better explained.
This is going to be kinda circle-y because a couple things are happening: there’s a button that’s being pushed because of the ways this is familiar and there’s also a lot of “oh cool, I got this” stuff going on.
I have been unpacking my brain in therapy lately and coming to some realizations about my relationship to my trauma. A large part of it is that I draw a lot of strength from it. There’s a lot of anger (a lot of anger) but also so much of what makes me me, and capable, and able to get through shit comes from that place. So good things are hard because while I’m pushing through normal things like a normal human, I’m fighting some demons on a sub-level and getting to a place where the strength I pull from my pain doesn’t bring as much pain up with it.
Also I’ve been super proud of myself for knowing how to do homework, and keep my shit together, and pace myself. I can pin point when I learned those things and it pulls up a lot of pain with it, even though it’s good.
For roughly a semester I participated in my homeschool group’s co/op day where we took over a church and operated kinda similarly to a school. Parents or alumni were stationed in rooms and taught a thing, and gave us actual homework. It wasn’t really graded in a way that I remember mattering, but there was still like, a due date for things.
I remember when my mom was pregnant and therefore not up for teaching us and I would just take my books and do my school. Eventually I had to teach my siblings and do my school. When I got into schoolwork that took more than 2 hours total to complete, my parents decided I’d learned all I needed to know and should focus on educating my siblings.
The only person who really valued my education enough to do anything about it was myself. It’s a really rough place to be as a child who has no idea 1) what they even need to learn and 2) very little guidance in any educational direction. My reading comprehension skills are great because that was the only tool I had to teach myself everything else.
It’s foreign to me to be lax about education because it was never just available to me. I have to remember that a lot of people haven’t had to go through educational neglect before getting to college, so I should not assume that everyone else is a Hermoine like me.
I realized that part of the trauma space I’ve been in is because the emphasis on being self driven (which I am), sends me back to being educationally abandoned. So my instincts say I’m about to lose access to support even though that isn’t remotely what’s meant.
They’re setting reasonable expectations because they can’t will students to show up and learn things. But the only experience I have is….that being used to restrict my ability to learn. I have to consciously remember that I am supposed to ask questions and not just take notes to look things up later. Logically, I understand this.
The part of my brain that’s trying to protect me from danger hasn’t adjusted to a different context yet. It’s made doing math homework really difficult because math is sort of my sticking point. Although I’m also feeling really devastated about my bullshit science this week too.
In a few weeks I’ll be actually learning how to weld and I am terrified and I know nothing.
Which I guess is the point, really. I think everyone else in my class also knows nothing which is exactly why we are spending 6 hours a week for 2.5 weeks going over safety before we even go into the welding lab.
I’ve also been feeling really guilty about putting my personal future/education first as far as time and priorities go. Even though like, this benefits more than just me long term…I feel like an asshole for not being able to organize full-time because I’m doing school full-time right now instead. Doing school while watching the rise of fascism just seems pointless some days, even though it’s probably the best decision to be making right now.
In that vein I’ve been blocked lately because I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to say, and what’s the point? Some of this is tangled up in gender feelings and sorting things out, and depression, and the state of the world. Right now I am a big tangled mess of buttons that keep being pushed and thank fuck therapy is on Monday.
In the meantime, PPE suits me.