Tag Archives: college

Ink Blots and Achievements

20130609_183613A good half-dozen partial posts are sitting in my draft box.

Each begins with some creative quip or funny experience, but invariably they drop-off in quality at the part that I tie the opening paragraphs to the section that actually matters.

While it would be difficult to argue that my life has in any way significantly slowed since the pre-April 12th days (aka the days before my thesis was due), I am spending considerably less time undisturbed in a research cave.  Lack of human interaction encourages use of other outlets to process life…like blogging.  Hence the plethora of thesis-complaining posts and absence of anything since then.

But more importantly, I think there’s been less to record.  Despite finishing school, moving, and settling into what will be my life for as long as the immediately foreseeable future holds, everything simply is, and I’ve been waiting for it. 

I finished school sometime at the end of May, but my thesis eclipsed all other schoolwork in importance sometime in early October.  After thesis, none of it mattered any more.

By the spring, I started experiencing some kind of mental whiplash for attempting to fully live in the worlds that were work and school, knowing that I couldn’t fully commit to either.  I could remember everything on the church calendar for the next three weeks, but I’d consistently double-book my own schedule because school and work never merged in my head.   I willfully chose to try to make the most of what was left of school, but my friends were as aware as I was that my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

I’ve been teased for my lack of sentimentality, which is probably fair.  One of the last times I spoke with Prof. Elphick, I went to great lengths to assure him that I didn’t regret my Wesleyan education.  Near-complete lack of resources for anything I really cared to study is unfortunate, but learning how to ceaselessly defend and protect myself has got to count for something.

But the truth is, I love a challenge.  Sometimes, I love a challenge so much, I bypass the transitions, because what’s next or could be is always more exciting.

This doesn’t deny the importance of the present.  In fact, it elevates the importance of the present, because it articulates dreams that are still too splotchy to yet fully-explain as challenges instead of directionless aspiration.  It frames the present in the realistic context of what could be.

Some of what I’m working toward are very old dreams, some are clearer than they once were, and some I finally just know how to pursue; and while I’m still drawing the plans, there’s no doubt that it’s a beautiful place to be.

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Use capitulation in a sentence

After a few days of chaos, exhaustion, and the now-familiar onset of culture shock, the buzz of campus has settled like dust– making Wesleyan home once again.  It remains an awkward squeeze for this Hoosier, but one that I’ve learned to take in strides.

The 13 hour drive from Indiana was extended by construction across the entire state of Pennsylvania.  My high-rise flirts with ninety degrees, it took some time to locate a fan, and my dresser rivals the holding capacity of my four-year-old $12 particle board nightstand from Wal-Mart.   Understandably, the first few days were challenging.

The soothing rhythm of jstor pdfs and sharpie highlighters set as soon as I organized my library and set out to define some otherwise bland and useless floor space, but once that was all settled, I had a little bit of breathing room.

My eating room (if you can call it that) is a kitchen counter that stands at an awkward height– too low to be bar stool height, too high to be normal sitting height and massive pillar divides the living space.

Shirley and I snatched an extra bed from the 7th floor and shoved it caddy-corner to the bar– thereby constructing a make-shift couch, then bought some pretty pillows at Marshalls to complete the look.  A trip to Walgreens and the dollar store for some prints and cheap frames gave the room a finished look.

At Wesleyan, we honor Labor Day by starting school and so I found myself in American Political Economy on Monday at 11, which was quite the experience.  Despite an engaging professor and what appeared to be short, but decent reading list, I found myself unengaged.  For the first time, I found myself in a quality academic setting focused on my interests and thought the class was too easy.  That was weird.  The semester’s essay questions looked like they could all be written within a week, and I was familiar with the works and major ideas of half of the authors on the book list.  This must be what they call “being a senior.”

On that note, I’ve been working very hard on the “being a senior” objective.  I have my whole life to read books and write papers, but I only have 2 semesters of free and fun everything that comes with being a student.  So…I ditched a dinner early to catch the Avengers at the Goldsmith Family Cinema last night and recruited friends until I had a gang to catch Vertigo on the big screen tonight.

<– Embrace youth mentality, manifested as braided pig-tails

 

 

 

 

Up next?  Shirley and I will be hosting a salsa party (the food, not the dance) and have decided that inviting people to breakfast is going to be our thing.  I’ve already made biscuits and gravy twice this week.

The hurried nature of week one has not permitted time to retell my game theory invoking encounter with a skunk by my car after a 2am shift at the library, the Russian Politics reading load, what it is like to live without a microwave, or the ever-evolving moster and beast that is my thesis, but rest assured it’s coming.

So, here’s to being a student (or at least an undergrad)…one last time.