Or it could be pity. It’s hard to say.
I was at the chain book store last weekend, spending some quality time with my 10yo (who defines quality time as looking at books and telling me minute details about whatever he is interested in for the year. Lucky for him, I have the same tendency to collect loads of facts that no one else seems to appreciate. I completely understand why it is important to understand the subtle differences between super villains or the nuances between brain processing in introverts and extroverts and why that translates into I don’t care what’s on the radio.)
During the trip, I walked passed a ACT / SAT / GRE / GMAT / LSAT prep area full of flashcards, mainly geared towards vocabulary, but with other key facts mixed in. That’s when the confusion hit me.
I’m old enough that I’ve gone through several iterations of standardized tests where vocabulary is stressed and my own is lacking. But I’m also old enough to think, gosh, doesn’t that seem like cheating? Followed immediately by jealousy as I wish I had a reason to buy the cards.
Actually, I had vocab flash cards for those previously mentioned tests. I made my own. I’m pretty sure I could have bought vocab cards, yet I didn’t. The prices seemed reasonable by my standards today. I sort of was wishing for a time turner so I could see what they were mumble mumble years ago. Where they more expensive or was I cheaper than I am now?
I used homemade flash cards for pretty much every test I ever took in college. I bought 3 x 5 index cards like they were a magical elixir that would save me from failure. In a way, they did. I remember vividly the teasing I received from peers, and the occasional professor, when I started flipping through the cards between classes and they quizzed me. Some were impressed at how well it helped me study. Others thought it sounded like too much work.
I had a decent GPA and worked between 35 and 40 hours a week. Magical elixir indeed.
So while I was jealous and in awe of the boxes of shiny flashcards, I also pitied the students that wouldn’t have the initial review by creating their own cards. And writing them out in such a way that made sense to them or applied flash cards to subjects outside of the pre-printed ones.
Between you and me? I have a few unopened packets of 3 x 5s in my writing space at home. I still find them useful.
Maybe it’s time to add vocabulary drills into my routine.
It may prove to be a magical elixir yet.