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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You Don't Need a Patron Saint, You Need a Nerd

Sister Mary Martha,
I could use a all-purpose patron saint.
I have recently returned to school to obtain my college education and earn my degree in nursing.
My difficulties started the first day. English, the one subject that I thought I would do well in, in going right straight down the toilet. Our teacher wants us to work exclusively with the computer and the internet. Nothing could have frightened me more, except the fires of Hell, of course. I am all but computer illiterate, having confidence only in the simplest of tasks.
I already have a 60 in English. My teacher said I didn't save my paper in rich text format. Huh?
When I ask her show me something on the computer, she becomes visibly agitated and states that I must learn to use the computer, or I simply won't succeed in college.
Now, due to heightened anxiety, the narrative thesis statement, outline, and bulleted list looms large before me. The assignment was assigned Friday, are due Monday. This Monday. Help!

Oops.  I hope it all turned out well for you, as I missed your saintly deadline.  We can always look to the saints for help.


Your teacher is correct.  Your professors can't hand hold you through the rest of your college career.  They call it a college "career" for a reason.  You are going to be doing it for some time to come, and to succeed at it, you'll have to approach it as the job that it is.
If you were working at Target, and the manager said to you, "We're getting in some new registers that you'll have to learn how to use",  you would never dream of saying, "Oh, I'm computer illiterate so I'll just flap around with my hair on fire until you sit here with me and show me how it all works until I get it down."  You'd play close attention to her instructions, and then you'd figure it out.

Get a grip.  Computers are SO EASY to use now.  Everything you'll need to change file formats is practically self explanatory. Have someone show you that. Computers: what was once actually rocket science, is now child's play. 

I'll do it.

Here's how you change file formats. When you save your document, under the bar that asks what you'd like to call the file is another bar that allows you to change formats. Click on the little arrow and a list of choices will appear. Click on the one your teacher wants.  The computer will do the rest.

I just don't think you need a saint for that.  You might need a sixth grader.

That's not to say that you won't need, or don't need Heavenly help.  I suggest St. Catherine of Sienna, who spent much of her career writing letters to people telling them to get their act together.


ArchAngel's Advocate said...

Your corresponent might also see if there's a computer assistance department at her college. Most colleges have the Comp Sci students spend a couple of hours each week to assist other students with computer issues of all kinds. Also check with the school library for similar help, and then of course there are those black & yellow "Dummy" books (which very good for basics ever for us computer nerds...)

Claudia said...

I think she/he needs Google and then enter in the search bar for tutorials on how to do things. I think you could find any "how to" on the net.

Anonymous said...

If you submitted a question to Sister Mary Martha, then you can do it!

The Strawberry Mallard said...

Bless your heart Sister Mary Martha!

Arkanabar said...

Your correspondent might find it easier to get along with a different OS. A number of people, especially the computer-illiterate, find some of the Linux distros more intuitive than Windows. Ubuntu and Linux Mint are probably two of the easiest.

Dejanet said...

Hey, chill everybody! It may be hard for those of you who grew up with changing technologies to understand the level of anxiety that learning complicated new instructions without any previous knowledge to build on can induce in those of us who 1. grew up at a time when none of this was introduced in schools 2. did not have the economic means to come in contact with new technologies or 3. harbor Luddite sympathies (me).
ArchAngel's Advocate's advice is very solid, but Sister, I think you were a little too harsh in imparting the truth this time. Nonetheless, I love you and your blog! How about St. Joseph of Cupertino? He had a miraculous intervention during the hardest exam of his life despite his lifetime of learning difficulties.

former luddite said...

Dear Sister,

You are so kind to try to help. May I also suggest St Jerome, patron of librarians? The public library is the place for free and competent computer literacy classes.

Also, to you Reader: Talk with your prof, Reader. Explain you are in over your head and need to withdraw or to take an incomplete. DO NOT screw up a course because you aren't ready. Consider Computer Literacy the prerequisite for this course.

Further, you NEED a knowledge of computers for most jobs and definitely for all college courses, PERIOD. How can you be a nurse without knowing computers these days?

I AM being sympathetic. However, we must also be realistic. Go to a library, enlist the help of another student, contact the computer department of the campus for a tutor. The way to face these problems is head on, with intercession from the saints, of course.

Good Luck in your studies!!!


Unknown said...

YOU NEED A NERD! That's awesome!

Scoop (Leslie Scoopmire) said...

I like Danielle's point. And if my eighty-year-old friend can do it, anyone can. Always good to have a sister and a saint in your corner, however.

Maureen said...

Sigh.....oh how I do sympathise, and I am most definitely not a college student! I know how to switch this machine on - and then off again - and for everything else I have grandchildren.
But even I was floored recently when the three-year-old was able to search for, and bring onto the screen the program he wanted.

abishag said...

Former luddite is right! If you are in the US, your public library can help. They all have computers for patrons use and many have staff that can help you. The library in my parent's neighborhood also hosts computer classes monthly. You may need to withdraw from the class and take it when you have enough experience in word processing to complete it.

Don't let the more experienced intimidate you - computers are not difficult to learn, at least for the purposes of writing papers. You will not be programming or anything complicated. I'll keep you in my prayers!

Whitney said...

The computer science department will probably be more help, but the original poster can email me if s/he needs more help.

In college, you have to learn a lot more than what the teachers are teaching you. It's just part of the game.

denise said...

I tutor nervous novices on computer stuff.

The first thing to know is that you are not stupid.

You don't have to know how the internal combustion engine works to drive a car. And you don't have to start over learning to drive every time you buy a new one. This is not the way of computers.

The program doesn't make sense because the nerds who designed it wrote it from their knowledge and for their needs.

Try all the routes already suggested here.

When someone shows you something
- Keep control of the keyboard.
- Make sure you know what happens before continuing.
- Don't press any buttons until you have written a note about it for when you need to do it next time.

I hope this helps.

Mary Frances Reitz said...

Sister I found your blog and become so interested I've taken several weeks to read through it from the beginning.  Let me say thank you!
I am a convert having become Catholic some 16 years ago.  My husband and our three sons also converted.  All my sons are grown and through college making a way for themselves nicely.  Lately I've been trying to learn more about my faith and I feel so inadequate.  I'm not stupid ( I do have a degree) but I am overwhelmed by what I don't know.   Reading most of the blogs and websites, as well as the books, I am lost at times.  I make mission rosaries and I have tried to learn all I can about the history, promises and all but i get blogged down in the details. Is it enough for me to just take - on faith as it were - the teachings, rules, etc. or am I being ignorant by not delving into all the history,  apologetics, dogma, etc.  Am I not living my faith to its fullest? Where do I start? 
I must say I love the Mass, it is such a blessing.  

Maggie said...

Sissy, here are my suggestions:
1) Do you like to read? Here are a few books that give a good solid foundation for Catholicism. Some are easier to read than others but most are pretty straightforward. Many will be available at a decently-sized library.

a) Catholicism for Dummies

b) Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron

c) The US Catholic Catechism for Adults

d) The youth catechism, or YouCat

2) Have you seen the forums over at Catholic Answers? They do a great job responding to questions.

3) Remember, our knowledge of the Faith is not the same as faith. We are not Gnostics, who believed that knowledge and its understanding was a way to obtain salvation. Knowing and loving Jesus, serving others, participating in the sacramental life of the Church, following Church teaching... those the things that matter. Sure, it's great to know the faith inside and out or understand theology, but those aren't essential. One of my favorite priest bloggers, Fr. Dwight Longnecker, put it this way:

"I love the Catholic Church because it is for brainy, sophisticated, cultured, artistic people and it is also for those who are not. It is a church for haute couture and hoi polloi. You can enjoy a Raphael Madonna or a plastic bottle of holy water shaped like the Blessed Virgin with a crown for a cap that unscrews. You can appreciate a picture of the Last Supper painted by Leonardo on the wall of a refectory in Florence or one painted by number on black velvet and hanging in a trailer. You can study the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas or be an imbecile and still be a good Catholic. Nobody's excluded, in fact to really stand everything on its head, a good Catholic has to consider the peasant, the holy fool, the child, the tasteless ignoramus and the devout ditz to actually perhaps and possibly being closer to heaven than the smart, the rich, the tasteful, the privileged, the powerful and the educated ones. Indeed, to enter the kingdom of heaven one has to become like a little child."


elfin said...

Thank you, Sister. I took your advice and have an A in English. The paper I worried about, 100%, no corrections.Thank you, everyone, for the good advice and prayers. It worked!