Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Diary of an Honours Student, Week 12

Does age entitle wisdom?

And what is 'wisdom' anyway? Is it being smart?  Is it knowing things?  Is it understanding things?  Is it working hard to find the answer, and always looking in the right place?  Is it street smarts?  Is it common sense?

Is it a coincidence that when I think of wisdom, I generally think of older men?  My grandfather, Albus Dumbledore and two professors at my University who simply radiate style and smarts?

It just so happens that the year I have chosen to undertake Honours in is also the year I turn 21.  This is not unusual for people who go straight from high school to a three year university degree to honours.  And because I am 21 this year, so are a lot of the friends that I graduated with. (And today is Lauren's birthday, so happy birthday to her!)

I turned 21 a bit over a month ago now.  I'm fairly certain I feel older (or I've started being a bit more mature anyway.)  But do I feel wiser?  Let's look at the facts.

1) When I see groups of teenagers out at the shopping centre in their bum-exhibiting shorts, with their hair all scraggly and the foulest language known to man coming out of their mouths I think "Was I that bad?  Surely not."  This means that I have grown up enough to know better than the mistakes I made in high school.  It also means it won't be long before I start sitting on a deck chair on the veranda and yelling "Hey you kids, get off my lawn."

2) When people ask me about my Honours thesis, I have been known on occasion to explain my research thus far with such clarity I surprise even myself.  Example:
I was asked about the novel The Shark Net one afternoon at work.

"I believe that in literature set in this State, the mid 1960s is an important period of study because the local mindset changed.  Due to the Cottesloe-Nedlands murders, this point in time can be considered a turning point.  As a memoir, Robert Drewe's The Shark Net documents both the event and the change in mindset, at the same time as being a coming of age story of both the character and the State."

I know.  Genius.

3) I sometimes say "Per Se" even though it annoys my boyfriend to no end.

The dictionary defines wisdom as "the quality of being wise" and wise as the ability to "judge what is true or right" or "showing good judgement".

If that's the case, I think there is a time and a place for wisdom.

Perhaps growing older doesn't make you wiser, perhaps it merely gives you the ability to decide if you want to be wise or not on a given day.

What do you think?

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