- Gentry-Jay Gent
- Section 037, Journey Log 1
- Exploring and The Puzzle of Motivation
Since as long ago as I could remember, I have always considered myself as just part of a large, controlled system. I was expected to be a respectful child, make good grades, and not cause any trouble. Not that my parents intensely stressed these duties and how one should live their life, but that's just how it has always felt; the feeling that i was merely a product of the system and was limited in freedom of choice and what I wanted to do with my life. Now as a student in college along with millions of others around the world, planning to pay hundred of thousands of dollars to inconvenience myself with difficult assignments just to make that average $45,000 a year that comes with a bachelor's degree, I have never felt more like a puppet than ever. So, of course, I walk into this english 103 class thinking it will be as shitty as all of my other english courses that I took in high school. Now I do not think I have ever had expectations as wrong as mine were for this class. Finally, a creative approach to a creative topic. I was seriously confused as to why Christopher Stuart did not mention that we had to do any 5-paragraph essays this course, until I realized that this was not a "normal" english course.. After Chris explained overall what this class is about and how assignments were to be completed such as through Minecraft education, we were then assigned to create our own avatar and screen name, without many guidelines at all. Having a passion for hip-hop music-making, I stuck with my rap moniker "Jay Gent" and created a realistic avatar to reflect myself the best and most accurate way possible. My favorite learning topics that were discussed this week involve exploring and the science behind motivation. We were assigned to read about exploration, one of the habits of the creative mind. This piece discussed our urge to explore and imagine, and referenced Alice in Wonderland in which Alice went down the rabbit hole and continually explored what she believed had ever existed. The Matrix was also referenced, in which our explorative nature was revealed through a character's selection of a pill that would allow him to experience "the Matrix". I greatly enjoyed this reading because I have always valued "what could be" over "what is" and questioned what is normal and searched for what is not. The imagination that comes with exploration ties into the puzzle of motivation, another topic we discussed. Daniel Pink hosts a Ted Talks video and discusses the irony and obsolescence of incentive-based work and the possible benefit of intrinsic motivation: doing something because it is right and because we like it. Countless research on motivational theories have revealed the hinderance on free thinking that structure creates. We live in a world way too focused on compliance rather than maximizing effectiveness. I remember in my 10th grade Biomedical Science class, we were learning about the brain and all of its features and functions; the amazing things it could do and the reason for why us humans think. Yet, the same-old boring note-taking approach was taken to teach young, creative minds about such a complex organ. It was definitely one of those classes where the topic was so interesting, but the teacher and the class itself was miserably boring. Fast forward about a month to the end of the Brain unit, and the test grades come back in. I had made the only hundred in the class, and I only showed up to the first and last days of the unit, and rarely paid attention during those two classes. I did not gain the knowledge necessary to ace the test from a structured classroom, but through my self-motivation to learn about the brain and discover what makes me think the way I do. I probably read at least 3 or 4 books on the brain in between the first and last days of the unit. Sure, that could be an example of incentive-motivation: read all these books and I will make a 100 on the test and keep my grades up! But the intrinsic approach comes into play when I am learning non-conventionally, outside of the classroom, and even continuing to learn about the test material after the test has been given. I didn't read all of those books because i wanted a good grade, but more because I wanted to learn more and be aware. This exemplifies the huge role that passion can play in motivation. Sure, I consider myself clever and very capable of succeeding in college, but not unless I want to. I'm not going to stop writing music lyrics just because a middle-aged teacher wants to teach me something boring about biology or the digestive system. I am going to do whatever I am most interested in about, and I will always embrace this quality of mine because of the success that derives from my selective actions and decisions. I thank you, Chris, for breaking conformity and encouraging me to actually pay attention. Not by making me pay attention, but catching my attention through nonconventional topics and methods. I really hope we continue to learn about topics that can help me be more creative.
Bard Creative Poem:
As I hop out of bed and rush out of my dorm
I can't help but think that i'm here to conform
All they want me to do is obey, not perform
So surprised I was when i stepped in the door
my Professor advised us to break all the norms
all my old 5- paragraph essays, to pieces I tore,
now make way for a brand new, creative storm.
Now, all of my beliefs that standard education stinks
has been validated by sir Daniel Pink
so next time you ask your spouse to do something for a drink
you better recognize that might limit how she thinks.