After visiting the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam this week I was thrown back to my days as a MA student and especially to the course I took on genre painting. There were many paintings there which I had read about, even written about and I could tell Anne what I knew about them.
There was enough to tell, but so much had drifted out of my memory. I was a little disappointed.
As a student I could have read a lot more than I did. In my first or second week I was given an endless list of material books, articles and more If only I still had that list! Maybe I still do? Why would I throw that away?
Anyway I had a thought. Normally as a student I would do the required reading. I’m a slow reader, it was more than enough. But I would always read it twice if I thought I really needed to know the ins and outs. Now I think I would have done better to read more of the optional reading instead of re-reading the required stuff. If I had read more broadly I would have come across the same topics and authors probably and maybe I would have understood the required reading just as well as when I was re-reading it, if not better. This was one of the frustrations I had as a student, the time pressure. I wanted to read a lot, just not what was listed for that week. I was bored to easily. I enjoyed analyzing what I’d read, but not in a 10 page essay. The way academic learning is structured does not suit me.
Now I am no longer a student but there are still times when I want to be able to study. Like when I come back from the museum. The current state of the internet makes this possible of course, but where would I start? I could go to the library and ask the subject librarian. I could go online and do a search, but I want older material, which more often than not hasn’t been scanned or published online.
Good for me that I found that list!