Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The day I handed in my final term paper, or why Lizzie McGuire is the smartest and coolest girl ever.

So this morning (yesterday morning? It's after midnight...) I officially handed in my last paper of the term, which means that I now spend all of my time watching episodes of Lizzie McGuire on YouTube. Naturally. It is only one of the best Family Channel shows of all time. I almost said it was the best, but then I remembered The Weekenders.  I mean, Carver's was a very talented songwriter: "I got my wheels, and wheels are cool, and cool is good, and good is ... good." The creativity!! He's like Elton John.

Anyway. You know what's going to be sad? When the students in my tutorials are too young to have watched the same shows as I did. We had an awesome discussion in my last tutorial about all the Family Channel shows we watched as a kid... (Okay, okay, we ended up talking about Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack and Codie. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WATCHING KIDS SHOWS IN YOUR LATE TEENS/EARLY TWENTIES. Plus, at least we weren't watching the one where Zack and Codie live on a boat. We're not that pathetic. Although it may have taken me an embarrassingly long amount of time to realize that "London Tipton" was imitating Paris Hilton. That's a bit pathetic.)

Anyway. (I need to stop saying "anyway" to bring myself back when I get off topic. Maybe I should switch it up, use something more sophisticated... How about "But I digress"? Too stuffy?) ANYWAY. I was watching the episode of Lizzie McGuire were she competes in rhythmic gymnastics.

First of all, I can't for the life of me understand why rhythmic gymnastics is the dorky sport when it's basically just cheerleading with props. Second of all, did anyone else realize that Coach Kelly from Lizzie McGuire is Coach Beiste from Glee? Is anyone else wondering if she's ever played anything but a scary gym teacher? That's a weird thing to be typecast as. (Does one get "typecast" as something or "typecasted" as something? Well, since there's now a squiggly red line under "typecasted," I guess I was right the first time...)

Third of all, this episode is awesome. And not just because Lizzie is clearly not the least bit flexible or co-ordinated and yet she wins the gold medal even though the other girl can touch her toes to the back of her head. The premise of the episode is that Lizzie feels like she's not talented at anything. Her grades are always B's and she doesn't have a specific hobby or talent. And even though I'm no longer in grade seven, I've been thinking the same thing as Lizzie a lot lately. I mean, I don't get all B's, because then I wouldn't get to be a grad student and then this blog wouldn't exist and then everyone's life would be just a little bit sadder, but "school" doesn't exactly feel like a talent per se. When people ask you what you're good at or what your hobby or talent is or what you like to do in your spare time, I can guarantee that they don't want you to say "school" or "thinking." Thinking, apparently, is not a talent. Writing those thoughts down is only marginally better. People stare at you and are like, "Yeah, but everyone has to think and go to school. So what are you good at that's SPECIAL?" And I'm like...uh...reading? And sure, being good at thinking, writing and reading is really good. Especially when you're a grad student. (Hey, look! I'm also good at stating the obvious!) But it's not like you can pull out your reading skills at a party when things get quiet like those talented musicians. Nor can you display your super smart thoughts in your living room like those talented athletes can with their trophies. (I guess if you have multiple degrees and published books you could display them. But then you kind of look like a douche.)

I feel like that paragraph should have come to some sort of concluding point. I don't really have a conclusion, though.


Anyway (dammit I used that word again!!!), my point is that Lizzie brings up something that I think a lot of people have a problem with, especially those of us who have a "talent" that most people think is dorky or just not a "real" talent. (People don't usually use the term "professional student" as a compliment...) Everyone has to go to school for at least 12 years. Most people hate it. So when your talent is doing something that everyone's done already and everyone hates, you feel a little less talented. Plus, people never get to witness this talent. Most people know you have it, but are completely unwilling to do something as drastic as read your papers or have a conversation with you about the things you study to actually prove it, so they just vaguely compliment you about it -- like "Jocelyn, you'e so smart!" Well, thanks, but HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? You're just saying that because my mom told you I was a grad student, aren't you?

Not that I want people to stop complimenting me. That was rude of me. I appreciate your compliments, even if they're unfounded. But that was not my point. This conclusion sucks. And I think that somewhere along the line I conflated the terms "talent," "hobby" and "work." I'm really not sure what I'm talking about anymore. But I don't have to!!!! TERM PAPERS ARE DONE. COHERENCE HAS BEEN THROWN OUT THE WINDOW. Muhahahahahaha.

Lizzie's conclusion was better: "But if I don't like it, why waste my time doing it? I'd rather work extra hard at something I do love, even if it takes a little longer." I realize that's not really related at all to what I was saying, but it's still a good conclusion. Don't worry about what you're talented at, just make sure you're doing what you love. And I am! Thanks, Lizzie :)

Also, I think her little brother makes an excellent point about valuing all of our talents, not just the ones that are popular. When Lizzie asks, "How many talents do you get in one lifetime?" he confidently replies, "I have six. One is that curlycue thing I can do with my tongue, two is saying anyone's name backwards -- Tarzan, Nazrat -- three is eating spoonfuls of wasabi..." (He gets cut off after three, but you get the point.) Actually, maybe his conclusion is better than Lizzie's. So I shall end here.

1 comment:

  1. I was definitely watching Lizzie McGuire last week too. The one where she kisses Aaron Carter. I love the old Family Channel shows with happy feel good messages like that. Even Stevens ranks pretty high up there with Lizzie and the Weekenders. I would have liked to have been in your tutorial.