Graham sat back, took the headphones off and placed his head in his hands.
The exam was on Monday and today was Saturday. He was never going to be ready in time. Learning he loved, even revision was tolerable but exams? Urghhh! He had never learnt to love exams. It all seemed so random, you never knew what was going to be covered. It always seemed impossible to revise every aspect of a course in sufficient depth. You had to compromise. More like a game of chance, he thought; hardly an effective method.
Still he had signed up for this degree and it had cost a great deal of money, so he was going to do as well as he could.
So, back to Social Constructionism; “Identities are socially constructed. He read, They are multiple, de-centrered and changeable rather than singular, centrered and stable.” Mmmm, he thought, wonder what the lads down the pub would make of that? Still, must crack on, it’s bound to come up in the exam.
Graham’s mind drifted back to the Bach he had been listening to. The D minor, double violin concerto was simply beautiful, so soothing, so calming. The second movement, the largo, had become an earworm, constantly burrowing into his consciousness. “The musical, beauty of the early 17th century, he mused…..Oh, sod it!Have to put the Bach back on!”
Suitably calmed as he listened once more, he delved back into his notes.
“Language and its uses are believed fundamental to social constructionist theory. Language permits differing meanings of the same issue – consider Mandela; “freedom fighter or ‘terrorist’’? “Now that is a very good question” thought Graham “However, I bet I know which of the two the bloody examiners are going to plump for!”
His mind drifted back to the previous week’s tutorial and the argument he had got into with the somewhat ’gender fluid’ tutor over a definition describing Prejudice as a “biased attitude either for or against something formed without knowledge, thought or reason”
“Surely,” Graham had ventured “that definition is a prejudicial statement in and of itself.”
A howl of protest had gone up from the majority of the tutorial group and ‘gender-fluid’ had taken it upon himself/herself to attempt to remonstrate with him.
But Graham had managed the last word later by reminding the group of the experiments of Solomon Asch in the sphere of Group Pressure. These showed members of a group demanded that individuals in the group conformed to certain group standard/behaviours (…even when they were clearly wrong). That had shut them up.
He was beginning to ask himself why had he signed up for the degree. His first degree, a Combined STEM course, had covered science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which he had lapped up. Good concrete stuff. That behind him, he had moved on and something had intrigued him about Psychology. There was much in the subject that he found both engaging and truly informative. It was enabling him to grasp a far greater understanding of both individual and group behaviour. But much of the social psychology section he found subjective and lacking vigour.
‘Life is for living and learning.’ His mother used to drum into him. He wholeheartedly agreed and tried to live by her advice. Learn something new every day, had become his dictum. Knowledge for knowledge sake was a captivating concept; but knowledge one could apply was better still.
He sighed. Once he could get this module behind him he could start delving into the more interesting aspects of the subject.
A voice from the bottom of the stairs broke through his thoughts
“If you don’t hurry up, you’re going to miss the party – it is your 80th birthday!”
Graham sighed and eased himself from the chair “So much to learn & so little time.”