During the entire previous academic year, (a professional demarcation, overlapping the calendaristic one, but not at all coinciding with the latter, nor being synchronized), several existential issues were constantly into my focus and crosshairs. This interest is not new, although at a biological maturity tip, at 44, one naturally has a riper mode of thinking and more selective themes for preoccupation, that would be allowed to affect one’s mood.
The calendaristic, astronomic New Year does not, as I have already mentioned, coincide with the launch and start of a new academic year for educational field promotors. Our New Year is in September, every new year being demarked with high stress and a pallet of emotions from the extreme negative to the radical positive in their value. It turns out that this non-coincidence plus stress and exhaustion could cause a psychological burn-out, which is a term from the respective domain and a diagnosis. I have never thought seriously about the side-effects of constant exertion and sacrifice of private life, or overlooking the much arguable work/career – private life balance and… BARRIER!
This academic year in May, my chair have lost a colleague, at a relatively young age of 50, dedicated and overcommitted who passed out after 20 minutes from exiting the building of the establishment, died of sudden death in the street on her way home. The necrologic diagnosis of death which was determined by autopsy was heart attack; the obituary note on the dep site brought homage, condolences and regret; everyone – both professors and students were in shock. However, the gap of her falling from the system had to be promptly and effectively filled in so as to carry on the process and tasks which are much more numerous and intense at the end of the semester and academic year. So that, grieving aside, wiping bitter tears, we had to continue up till the finish line. The system is nevertheless failing us, letting us down.
Last week, a similar case of sudden death at the working place occurred at our neighbours’ in Romania at a Galatsy college. This time the professor was 42, and is said to have worked for 11 hours uninterruptedly, because of time and deadlines pressures. She was said to have had additionally a work conflict which was exasperating her psychological condition and increasing her anxiety and stress levels. The woman’s relatives and professional unions have fired the alert on the basis of this case, an inquest into possible causes is underway. However two young children in the latter case have remained orphaned of mother, and these two young professionals’ lives have been cut short, which constitutes a tragedy for those families, and a big loss for the society.
Lately, there have been constant discussions in the media about modern education, deficiencies, shortcomings, how to improve it, what to do, what to discard, eliminate from it, where, at what subjects matter to add hours, where to concentrate more emphasis. There is also a going-on dispute regarding what other indispensable for general knowledge and for the preparation of practical, aware citizens are necessary. Some argue to add a course of business notions to the high-school curriculum, others claim, some courses of law would be necessary to educate some conscientious law-abiding citizens, there are constant disputes regarding religion and sexual education being taught in school to upgrade the moral principles and profile of the young generation. I definitely consider all the above courses necessary, besides maths and literature, me I was taught queer courses like the Tractor (technical construction, traffic rules and driving practice hours); Beginner’s Course of Military Preparation – theory, the construction assembling and disassembling of AK47, plus practical hours of range shooting; we had courses of garment construction and sowing; and education through labour where we were engrafting saplings, planting them, had OUR park near the school; we also played basketball, we ran long distances of 3000 m and had hours of athletics, beam and height jumping. However, I would not necessarily recommend any of those to be introduced into the curriculum, but I would mandatorily add a psychology course from a young age, irrespective of their studies profile (humanitarian and theoretical orientation alike). I think starting from an early age the discussion about personality profile, would help young people know themselves better, would help them take up the control of their own destiny, they would simulate situations and reflect on life’s significance, drives vs motivation, how to form an attitude, how to take decisions and assume consequences for their acts and behavior, how to become resilient in the unequal struggle with stress.
We the planet have had a monstrous case of insufficient education and the constant urge for banal stimulation like stupid pranks that end up badly. In my opinion the tragic case of young youtubers in compulsive search of attention and traffic (viewers/followers) had lead to a catastrophic outcome – the death of the young man and the imprisonment of the young woman from Minnesota, with a child left parentless, without maternal warmth, she subsequently having to serve up to ten years charming the prison with her MonaLisian smile and another child is going to be given life also there in confinement. The broad discussion provoked by the case in the media can be resumed as follows: profanely ignorant couple who infamously touched sensitive points like being a disabled, making fun at this; they were labeled as immature as their first child was born when she was 16 and he 19, but their final crown trick – shooting from a gun from a very close distance into the young man who was joyfully shielding himself with a book – was outrageous. Social networks were boiling of emotions (thousands of comments, educated ones, by the way, the couple could have been proud of the genuine attention they have finally become the object of). All of the commentators however were condemning the mindless act; were awarding sarcastically the Darwin prize to them both, some brought into discussion the Mexican origins of the young man, thus some ethnical aspects to the foreground. Many are already discussing the verdict whether the manslaughter and negligence is qualifiable in the given case. I liked the comment of an anonymous user who expressed my own conviction as well – if they both busied themselves with a book in each one’s hands, such a drama would have not taken place. I also wondered which particular book did the young man hilariously use as a shield against inevitable death, allegedly that was some encyclopedia, was it at least hardcover? Well, it does not matter much because the guy was interested in books only for the case of the prank, asserting he saw how one book resisted to the penetration of the bullet. He took the book as a shield jeeringly, mockingly; the books can be soft thus – electronic, and they truly protect us from many troubles if we read them in any form physical or virtual alike, moreover without them we are definitely like disabled in a wheelchair being driven through a monstrous supermarket.