Friday, October 1, 2010

My Homework is D.O.A.

I love research in any way, shape or form. I love reading, I love libraries, Wikipedia is incredibly addictive; I just love learning random tidbits of knowledge. This is a possible reason for why I am so in love with post-secondary education.

Since starting paralegal school, that is what I have missed the most. The bulk of my marks come from quizzes, exams, and projects where I practice drafting legal documents for cartoon characters. While creating Mickey Mouse's last will and testament and divorcing Ken and Barbie is almost as fun as walking though the art history aisle at the Mount Royal library, I still felt like I was missing something. I love writing essays. I love putting together powerpoints and teachings my classes why Van Gogh was so fascinated with Millet's The Sower. This is of course essential knowledge I like to share with anyone who mentions impressionism or 19th century painting while I am in ear shot.

You can imagine my delight this past Monday when I walked into my first day of Criminal Law. What was that I saw on my outline? An ESSAY?! Life is beautiful.

Wait, what's the subject again? Serial killers? Oh. I think I prefer Van Gogh.

My assignment was to choose a convicted serial killer, write a profile and present it to my class on Friday. I decided this assignment would be manageable if I chose a killer who fit the following criteria:

1. Their biography did not make me want to vomit.
2. I could complete my research without losing my faith in humanity or feeling jaded.
3. I didn't feel like crying when learning about their victims.
4. I could leave class without checking over my shoulder every three minutes on the journey home.
5. I didn't get the creeps reading about them.

After looking up several killers, I came to the realization that no multiple murderer is going to pass this criteria, so I looked for a non-body mutilator and chose the Ken and Barbie Killers. With normal research, I would discuss my subject, but believe me, if you don't know, you don't want to.

On Monday night, I went to a bonfire in a city park for my church group. Here is some advice: when you have been researching kidnappers, rapists, and murderers all day, it is not a good idea to go walking through a park after the sun has gone down. In fact, it is probably best to not walk anywhere. Sensing that I was jumpy, a friend of mine pulled out his pocket knife and spent a part of his evening teaching me self-defense. Another insisted on walking me to my car. To think I thought I was consumed by my research before.

The rest of the week followed a pattern of me grumpily doing research, jumping at any sudden movements, and completing my project with a new appreciation for my parents, my friends, and generally the fact that I am alive, happy, and incredibly sheltered. Today I presented my findings to the class, and got into the swing of showing off my not-so-eagerly-acquired knowledge. Now I am celebrating the end of the project and the discovery that I never want to work in criminal law. I think I prefer taxes.

Tonight, I think I'll go home and watch Disney movies.


Kylie Groft said...

I hope you don't have the jitters for too long! In highschool, when I had to walk home in the evening, I hated it when cars would slow down near me and stop. I felt sure at any moment I was going to be thrown in the trunk of someone's car. Yuck! Not a good feeling at all! I'm sure after watching a few Disney movies and avoiding dark alley ways you'll feel as good as new!

Brendan said...

I empathize for you, Elena! I too am in my first class where I study serial killers in depth. My take is slightly different, since it's a psychology course, but the details are ultimately disgusting and the whole topic is downright sickening. My instructor is complexly fascinated by sexual offenders of any sort and we discuss or hear stories of such things in every one of her classes. It definitely is preparing me for my upcoming profession, but it definitely helps me appreciate my life as I know it, and those I have in it! The class is a Violence and Criminal Behaviour class and I certainly am learning the ins and outs of how and why people do the nasty things they do!