one day at a time

day 19: poor abandoned education

poor abandoned education

poor abandoned education © Verena Fischer 2011

Yesterday’s picture was taken at a school nearby. They kicked me out of their gym hall the day before. Obviously I wandered in there to take pictures.

I graduated from high school about 7 years ago. However, I still sometimes have this dream that I am back in school and that I am called to the black board to solve a maths problem. It is an easy one, but I can’t read the numbers and I am utterly lost. The other kids get impatient with me, start laughing and the teacher says: “Well, at this rate you’re never going to amount to anything!” And I start saying “Hey, I already have a university degree, I don’t even know why I am here … and who are you to judge me?” – “If you can’t solve this simple problem, then your degree probably isn’t worth anything, right?” and so on and so on.

Maybe the dream doesn’t mean anything, but after I have it I always end up questioning whether the problems I seem to be dealing with in real life are really all that difficult to handle. There is a film by the Coen brothers called A Serious Man where the protagonist has all these problems with his job and with his family and his son is being bullied in school. In the end the doctor tells him that he’s seriously ill and there is a tornado coming towards the city on the horizon. What I’m trying to say is: Are we not all making a big fuzz over nothing until we’re facing the real big stuff? Are we dealing with the adult equivalents of silly maths problems that we used to take so seriously before we went to university and discovered that there is always a harder problem out there?

In the end it is all not that important. And this is a good thing to realise for me just before the final deadline push of my MSc dissertation. It’s all just the things we do, because we’re supposed to do things. There is this notion in society that really bugs me: Who won’t work also won’t eat. This notion is what is driving us to worry about education and jobs and simple maths problems as if they were the really important things in life. The real problems are not as easy to deal with as a deadline at school or in your job.

Yesterday in a conversation with my friend Sarah we realised that if life was ideal I would be an artist and she would be a comedian. And we both wouldn’t be staring at the screen worrying about whether our simulated robots move or not. Well, sadly life isn’t ideal, so I best get back to my experiments.

And I best also stop wishing that I’m in 5th grade and my biggest problem is figuring out fractions …

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14 responses

  1. water retention

    nice blog…….

    August 31, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  2. wow – i love these colors!

    August 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    • thanks 🙂 although I love black and white photography I like playing with strong colours too!

      September 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

  3. Intense colours and a good eye for the details of daily life. Again and again you show that you have good control over colours in your photographs. I like the dark and somewhat abandoned mood in the picture. Graphically it has much in common with the “tree making out with building”, another of your pictures full of atmosphere. Of the last couple of days I still think I like most the “reflecting tree” of day 14. I also enjoy “making the best of it” from yesterday, but have some comments on post-production since we discussed that a little bit on my blog. I have written some comments under both these pictures

    August 31, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad that you like my pictures. I try to choose the picture that emotionally resonates the most with me, so I tend to go for atmosphere rather than simple beauty. Thanks also for the other comments!

      September 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm

  4. Very nicely done – I really like all the contrast in this (it really compliments the mood/subject matter)!
    I used to HATE doing math problems in front of my class… it was humiliating!
    I feel exactly the same about life’s challenges as well. On the one hand, life is short, and it would be nice to concentrate on doing what you love and creating something to leave behind. On the other hand, life is often unaffordable if you try to do that. It’s kind of sad, really. Great photo, though!
    🙂

    August 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    • Thanks for your comment!
      Indeed, doing maths problems in front of the class was always a bit humiliating. In my case it was more because I was not so bad at it and therefore easily got the “teacher’s pet” comment for doing well.
      Yes, it would be nice if we could spend more time doing what we actually want, but I think one can also find lots of ways of getting paid for something we like. I always try to get paid for the things I do anyway. When I was an undergrad I used to help people in the computing labs. The year after I got a job where I was being paid for exactly that. I think I couldn’t do a job that I hate just to earn lots of money.

      September 2, 2011 at 3:12 pm

  5. I like this photo, the colors and the atmosphere. Now, the school . I finished my studies about 40 years ago, but sometimes I still have a similar dream, I would call them, nightmares. I am in my class and I have to pass an important examination but I have forgotten sometimes the pen to write, sometimes the papers, or sometimes I’m not able to find the room where I have to go!
    Not sure what does it mean but I think that big difference is that in the school problems are difficult but simple, I would say linear. In real world all things are somehow interconnected and if you solve problem A you will create a new problem B. Solution? I do not think we have, just try to go on with our ideas, dreams and nightmares…
    Back to photography now…cheers
    robert

    August 31, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    • Yeah, school probably is just full of linear easy to solve problems, while life is just orders of magnitude more difficult. And after all we always find a way to create problems out of nothing too!
      Somehow my dream isn’t quite a nightmare, since I just start arguing with the teacher and then just walk off as if I don’t care. Just as I did when I was still in school 😉 Thanks for your comment!

      September 2, 2011 at 3:16 pm

  6. mewithmycamera

    awesome, awesome, awesome….love the colour!

    September 1, 2011 at 4:27 am

  7. its hard sometimes to decide which is better – the photo or the often deep philosophical conversation style note you write along with it 🙂

    September 22, 2011 at 3:24 am

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