Whereas left brain thinking is step by step linear thinking over time, right brain thinking is an holistic system where all knowledge is interconnected in space. When left brain thinkers are asked the answer to a question, they will look for the right answer based on the facts at their disposal. When right brain thinkers are asked a question, they usually respond with some form of “Tell me more/it depends”. As all their knowledge is connected, they can see many paths to differing answers and they want more information to help them decide which path to take to the required answer.
This divergent thinking is the hallmark of creativity but may not be understood in school where achievement is often seen as having the right answer. As Jeffery Freed says “Because one of the attributes of right brained thinking is a non-sequential divergent form of thinking, their minds often veer into unusual and different territory. This can result in illogical or often unsubstantiated conclusions. On the other hand, they may view a problem from an entirely different angle, leading to new breakthroughs and discoveries” (Freed, 1996, p16).
I've been all about seeing unusual angles or interpretations, and since I was instinctively looking for challenge at school, I tended to discount the simplest question as not being the one the teacher was really asking. It was very hard to tell which of my interpretations was the real question being asked. Teachers looked at me like I was crazy once I tried to explain to them the five different ways the question could be taken; and sometimes their intention was simpler than all five. I finally had a physics teacher my senior year who grasped the kinds of questions I struggled with, and allowed a month of personal tutoring with him to partially replace a very low test grade. It was too little too late but it really helped to encounter it at all.
How could I possibly explain this to college professors who will barely take the time to meet me?