I am writing this for my students, having in mind how the changes in our educational arrangement have impacted them.
Prolonged periods of isolation is difficult. This is especially true when we lose contact with what excites us, what inspires us, and what motivates us. Sometimes being around family members for long can feel isolating; sometimes being in a classroom can feel isolating; sometimes, I am sure, listening to an online lecture can feel isolating, too.
If you like to talk about psychology, your passions and interests, and you don’t find yourself around people who listen, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Send me an email and we could arrange a Skype call. I know the difference between thinking alone and thinking with someone. I know the difference between talking with a teacher who cares about your interests and talking with someone who isn’t available in the same way. When we talk with someone who cares, we might take a few steps further toward who we are destined to become.
I still remember the conversations I had with my professors during my undergraduate studies. Sitting with them in their office or walking with them slowly and talking in the distance between the lecture hall and the professors’ office. I remember talking about Kant and Schopenhauer with Prof. Douglas McDermid; I remember talking about phenomenology with Prof. David Morris; and, I remember talking about writing, philosophy, and critical thinking with Prof. Moira Howes. Those brief and apparently-ephemeral conversations were formative for me. I wouldn’t have been who I am now without them.
The best teachers I had never gave me any advice. They, instead, made me more aware of myself and my situation.
One of the most common errors, which I heard about from my students, is they want to be “prepared” before they talk to a teacher. They want to read all their articles, their book, they want to re-read the course textbook before approaching the professor for a simple conversation. We often don’t need to be prepared in the way we think. The conversation itself is the beginning. The conversation is practice and preparation. It is a practice in the art of getting out of your isolation, appreciating another person’s availability, and making yourself available to them.