When I was in college, I was an English minor. I wasn’t super interested in the lit classes because I’m awful at metaphors and poetry, but I did take all the writing classes that were offered.
There’s that joke about how we have a magical device that can look up anything in the world, but we use it to look at cats, right? Since I grew up in a different country, I’m often at a loss for what people are talking about. So much of our humor and our social interactions is defined by what we’ve heard and seen: movies, books, TV shows, music, etc. I have a couple friends who, just about every other sentence, reply in the form of a Vine. It’s like a secret club.
Long story short, I google stuff constantly when I’m talking to people. If it’s not, “Let me quietly google that thing you said that I can’t figure out from context,” it’s, “Let me fact-check this thing before I say it to you,” or, “Let me find that Tumblr post that was an exact reference to what we’re talking about.” Sometimes it’s even, “I can’t think of this word in English,” but honestly most of the time it’s, “I had this tangential thought while you were talking and now I’m going to google whale skeletons.”
My friends gave me a hard time about it initially, but I have now trained most of them, whenever they wonder anything, to google it. Because there are some questions you don’t want to ask out loud, right? Or even if you do, what are the odds that the person you’re talking to will know the answer to, “Can moa fly?”
Since I was a history major, I wrote a lot of research papers in school. And as much as I hated it, I kind of miss having that excuse to research a topic. I keep finding out cool side things that make me want to sit down one afternoon and learn all about them. So I was thinking, do I need to be in school to start writing research papers again? Am I allowed to write a thesis paper if no one is going to look at it except for me?
Well… why not? The problem with school is that a lot of time you’re just learning something for a test, right? You cram it all in for four hours, and then it’s gone. That’s why it’s so exciting when your professor decides to cancel your final (one of the reasons, anyway). But refreshing your memory is the best way to actually learn anything.
I’ve been going on Wikipedia odysseys a lot recently. On yesterday’s odyssey, I looked up Hollandaise sauce and found out that French cuisine has “five mother sauces.” I also determined that even though I’ve never had it, eggs Benedict would probably be one of my favorite foods.
I read an abridged Odyssey in middle school that confused me so much that I still haven’t read it. But I’ve been reading Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, which makes me want to go back and actually read the Wikipedia articles about Greek mythology now that I have a general idea of who’s who.
I’ve been watching an anime called Yuyushiki. The main characters belong to the “Data Processing Club,” which basically means that they sit around having really random conversations and googling the answers to the resulting questions. That’s basically what goes on in my brain on a regular basis, so of course the show makes me want to start being more intentional about it. It doesn’t have to be a dissertation. It doesn’t even have to be a master’s thesis. It can be a paragraph, or even three lines on a whiteboard like in Yuyushiki.
But it’s learning. And learning is never a bad thing.