Some People Consider It Torture

5:35 PM Edit This 10 Comments »
Cowgirl started college last year after completing her GED at age 35. In addition to being an awesome hospice tech, she's kind of my hero when it comes to tackling things in life. She is taking Abnormal Psych this semester, which makes my brain cells dance in a frenzy. And she's writing the very first research paper of her life this semester. She texted me this morning:

CG: how many books or articles do you have on the clinical subject of alcohol dependence/abuse?
ME: two books that are probably quotable.
CG: cool.
ME: want to feed me lunch and I'll bring them over?

And when I got there, she sat me down with her syllabus, frowned, and said, "This is what we're up against." I laughed, then found the parameters of her paper and outlined them for her. We chatted about a clear thesis and why quoting from educational journals was acceptable and quoting from Wikipedia was not. And that reading books by people with actual degrees was preferrable to a tell-all memoir by some celebrity.

Then we talked about categorizing the information that she gathers into the parts of her thesis she wants to explore. Causes, most effective prevention models, most effective treatment models, false beliefs, co-morbid conditions, etc... And that she would gather a body of information that seemed overwhelming and uncontrollable and that as she sorts through it, cohesive thoughts and patterns will emerge into a paper. She gave me the raised eyebrow and said, "I trust you." And then the party really started.

When I found out she had online access to her University's journal collection and FULL TEXT articles, it was her time to giggle. I was a kid in a candy store, showing her how to search, sort and scan to discern which ones would be useful to her. That reading an article about teenage drunks in Finland was too narrow of a scope for what she wanted. And that articles with things like evidence based research in the title were good.

In other words, I was in heaven. Today, we just gathered the articles. Next weekend, I'll be there to teach her how to read them to find the information she really wants and not stuff that's completely overwhelming to her sensibilities. I LOVE IT. She asked me several times over the course of four hours how someone could just sit and read and research all day. Then she'd look over at me, practically salivating over the knowledge sitting in front of me, enthralled with the whole process and said, "Oh yeah. Some people enjoy this. It ain't me!"

People. This is my element. This is where I belong. It makes me all kinds of happy. It makes my brain do flip flops on a trampoline with a hula hoop. Which is what it likes to do best. I figure if I'm not using my education in my own life, I might as well use it to help someone get an education of their own! And I'm so excited to be a part of her journey.


Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like maybe you should consider a career in teaching.

Just a thought.

Kate said...

Probably more like research. I have to keep myself from doing the work FOR her because I love it so much.

Summer said...

I love research. LOVE IT. That's so great that she is going to college. Proof that it's never too late. Good for her.

G said...

Research can be fun.

Still enjoy doing it to a certain degree at work.

Great way to make yourself look invaluable to the people above you.

But even if it's not work related, I still enjoy doing it.

buffalodick said...

Research can overtake me, when I want to know something I don't know!

BrianAlt said...

Why not more education?

It's never a bad thing, even if you have no plans to do anything with it. However, you might be surprised what it turns into.

Dingo said...

Squeee! Research! Love it. Cowgirl is going to be so far ahead of the game with you helping her.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

And you're not a college instructor, why???? If only most of my college instructors were really passionate about their fields AND loved sharing how to succeed at research with their students. I can pretty much guarantee I would've been a much, MUCH better student.

artemisia said...

Oh, this is awesome! Want to help me with my thesis? No, really?

Man, have you ever considered getting a masters in library science? You would be a kick ass research librarian - you could teach classes to freshman about this stuff!

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Kate,

I just read this post and yes, I laughed (at the imagery not you) but I'm glad you found something that worked.

I've never met a female rock star before so I'm feeling pretty stoked on a Sunday morning. I hope today, the salt water allows you to belt out a few classics.