Hello, y’all. It’s been a long time since I last posted a blog. I thought I would take a few weeks off blogging to finish up the last of the assignments in fulfilment of the requirements for my MA in Technical Communication and E-Learning.
But, two weeks became months. I misjudged the effort needed to put the final touches on my Master’s journey. One assignment led to another and then another and then, when I submitted the last of the assignments, I had the research project and that consumed the months of May and June.
I submitted the very last assignment at the end of June and the notification from my research supervisor acknowledging receipt of my submission read like a job offer. I was happy to have survived the full-time demands of academics. The weight was finally off my shoulders but, instead of feeling delighted, I felt like I was getting sick.
For over a week, I felt like I had a fever. I lost my motivation. I was feeling fatigued, and restless. My body ached in ways I cannot describe. My knees hurt. My back hurt. I feared I was getting seriously sick and considered going to the hospital.
Yet, I was not sick. I had no temperature, yet my skin seemed sensitive to touch. I had my appetite, I could smell food, and eat, sometimes more than normal. I was feeling very confused, very anxious. I blamed the changing weather even though it was getting warmer.
Little did I know that I was suffering the ‘Let Down Effect’. I had never heard about this condition. But scientists have documented it. You can read about the Let Down Effect in this brief article or this one which is more detailed.
Basically, “The Let Down Effect is a condition that leads to illness or symptoms (of illness in my case) following stressful events, such as conflict, time-pressured work projects, or school exams.”
Reading about the Let Down Effect made me feel better. I was lucky I did not need to visit the hospital, and I took solace in daily exercise (long walks and cycling).
I do not want to be prescriptive because I am aware that we all experience stress differently. What worked for me might not work for anybody else. But if you suspect you could be suffering from a Let Down Effect episode. I suggest you make a call to your doctor.
Finishing my MA is the first step in my attempt at a career pivot. After working in the media for close to 20 years, I want a break. The media no longer inspires me and I wish to have a go at many other things.
The MA in Technical Communication and E-Learning prepares one to be many things. It is not like a law degree that prepares you to be a solicitor or a barrister. This MA prepares you to be a multidisciplinary field player.
And because I am job hunting, being multidisciplinary his can lead to some confusion. I am happy to be a technical writer because I love writing and the learning curve in such a role would not be so steep. But I also want to work in education because the idea of learning new things, like learning to use a new tool or a piece of software, very stimulating and exciting.
Career pivots can be exciting, but daunting at the same time. I love this line from this website and I hope it is true: “career changers jump an empty space onto a completely different path. This change creates new experiences and new requirements. While these may seem like career change obstacles, they are nearly identical to every other job search out there.”
What type of learner are you?
Sticking with education, you have probably done an online survey to determine what kind of learner you are. The commonest is the VARK theory which stipulates that learners are either Visual, Auditory, Reading/writing, and or Kinesthetic.
Learning styles theories are varied, but each of these theories holds that people learn in different ways and that learning can be optimized for an individual by tailoring instruction to (their) style. For example, one theory has it that some people learn best by watching (visual learners), some by listening (auditory learners), and some by moving (kinesthetic learners). (Willingham et al. 2016)
I did one such survey which put me in the Visual/Kinesthetic category. But it turns out profiling learners according to learning style is not only unhelpful, it is unnecessary because there is no such a thing as a learning style. It is all a misconception.
According to Derek Muller (Ph.D.), there are several “teaching methods that can improve learning and learning styles is not one of them.” Watch the video above and tell me what you think.
Till next time.