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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fake it until you make it

This week I kept thinking about this time I was studying abroad in Kiel, Germany. I was taking three classes, a German philosophy course, German culture, and German lit. There was far too much reading, particularly for the philosophy and literature classes, so sometimes I would just read what I could and skim or skip the rest. One day I hadn't done the reading for my lit course, so I asked a friend of mine to brief me on it, which she did. Since I wasn't prepared, and the universe likes to punish you for things like that, I was called on in class to discuss the readings. I could have said I wasn't prepared, but instead I opted for faking it. I said what my friend had said to me about the readings, and when asked to expound upon this or that, I gave an opinion that would probably be sound based upon what I knew. My professor seemed satisfied with my responses and eventually turned her questioning on someone else. My friend who had saved my ass commended me for actually sounding like I had done the reading.

I guess in a way I should feel intellectually dishonest because of that story, but I don't. 

I don't know why I have been thinking about that story. I haven't been missing any of my readings so far this semester (though I'm sure I will at some point, it's inevitable). I haven't had anyone get my back, and I haven't gotten anyone else's. That's not really the way things are in law school, I don't think. I guess maybe I feel like law school is a lot of faking it -- pretending to know or understand more than you actually do.

Why is it that that makes me feel an emptiness while the Kiel story makes me feel a fond sense of camaraderie? Where's the real illusion here?


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3 comments:

B.R. said...

I'd perhaps look into collegiality reasons here. The Kiel experience, albeit informed by a lack of primary reading, is very much cooperative, good-spirited, not meanly competitive and in the name of partner help and learning. If your current experience doesn't mirror any of these things, then I would understand why you react the way you do. I've had some of my most intense enjoyment of literature come from partner work and information first. Reading only followed it. Literature is, after all, about connectivity and a sense of help and community. I believe that. I liked reading this. What literary text was it, by the way?

Sra said...

You know, I'm not quite sure which text it was, as it's been six years(!). I want to say it was probably Homo faber, though. Still haven't managed to read it, but I did see the film, and it's still glaring at me from my bookshelf. One of these days...

Sra said...

You know, I'm not quite sure which text it was, as it's been six years(!). I want to say it was probably Homo faber, though. Still haven't managed to read it, but I did see the film, and it's still glaring at me from my bookshelf. One of these days...

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