Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the human question

so, Sunday and Monday I attended a humanities leadership summit. Its focus was to bring together cultural leaders to discuss the humanities in 21st century technology and to gain knowledge of technology and to build new relationships for future partnerships (I got that from the program schedule as you can no doubt tell). There were lots of great presentations and demonstrations and KT and I are excited about implementing as much of it as we can manage without an addition staffperson to manage our social media presence :)

One of the things that struck me most, and got a little annoying as well, was the overuse of the word "robust". I remember a time when this word was reserved for dark roast coffee and good red wine but now we have robust websites, robust search engines, robust menu platforms, robust information formats, and a million other robust things I can remember right now. It came up multiple times in every presentation and table talk. I can tell that the word is lurking in my frontal cortex just waiting to pounce the next time I'm trying to sound smart. Can you hear it now? Robust online catalog, robust databases, robust historical fiction...hey, be sure and use our robust copier, it staples things for you!

Anyway, it was a good conference and I hope they will be able to hold it on an annual basis. The humanities were defined at the conference as all of the disciplines (history, literature, ethics, philosophy, art, ect) that ask the question, "What does it mean to be human?" It was really refreshing to talk and network with other people working in the humanities. It was nice to be around other people who value liberal arts education efforts like I do.

In my educational history, I have simply excelled more in these areas than in ones in non-humanities fields. I don't understand math and science reasoning (I say reasoning because there are areas of science that I enjoy and can comprehend...a little) and have worked hard since I was a young adult to overcome the stigma of not doing well academically in those areas. I made a 26 on my ACT's, missing the 27 pt scholarship cutoff for the pre-vet program at Auburn at that time. That was devastating when I was 17, but from the view at 31 I can honestly say that it was a blessing in disguise. I don't have the innate skills it would have required for that (I now live that life vicariously through KT's sister...hey Z!) and I DID TRY! I had live tutors, online tudors, live study groups, online study aids. I tried all of it and it just wasn't possible. Imagine my disappointment and disillusionment when I discovered that all those adults who'd said "You can do anything you put your mind to!" had lied or where VERY mistaken. Don't tell your kids that, it hurts more when they discover that it is not true. I put my mind to it and I still couldn't do it. I am a very intelligent person despite the fact that I can't help my 12 year old niece with her math homework. I am a very intelligent person despite the fact that my science projects were not very sophisticated. I have other areas of intelligence that are ideal for the career I've chosen, skills that are valued extremely highly by the service population I'm responsible for at my library, and skills valued by my coworkers with the computers aren't working :) You try finding a book on French poetry, Alabama railroads, Regency furniture or crockpot recipes when the computers aren't working and you have no access to the library catalog. It's a skill, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Off to work, talk atcha later!


Erica said...

it's true, your skillz are LEGENDARY.

Kenny P. said...

Your skilz sound ROBUST.

Holley T said...

so are yours :)