|The grublings playing on the lawn|
I'm a perpetual student.
I've majored in Opera Performance, in Philosophy, in Creative Writing, in Fashion Design... and now, here I am. Narrowing in on my degree at last. In Public Administration and Urban Policy.
Sort of a left turn from where I started out, no?
I've been in college, a variety of colleges, for the past twelve years. It used to be exciting, exhilarating. I used to learn and have my preconceptions tested and debunked. Not anymore.
Now I'm just getting by. Killing time. Closing in on the end. And this is an endless source of depression for me.
But now I'm almost done with my degree. A degree that I can use, that I can move into non-profit management, or walk into the public sector and find meaningful work utilizing.
And I'm miserable.
...these students are getting As.
The work I'm doing now, this work MIGHT have gotten me Bs at my first community college, over a decade ago. And the degree I would have gotten with these grades? It would have gotten me a really good job.
This degree is only going to get me a good job because I've also got the experience and the networking skills. By itself, I'd be looking at grad school. And this makes me feel like a fraud.
This degree, it's meaningless. It means that anyone in my classes can get this degree, which is to say that they can limp along, never doing the reading or the homework, coming up with sob stories and excuses, and walk away with this degree.
When I started this program, it was a pilot. It was entirely taught by graduate faculty. And they made me WORK. They made me LEARN. One of them even gave me a B, and she was right. I could have done better.
Now they've hired on a whole faculty of undergrad professors. Who mostly just care about making sure everyone passes. Already knowing the material, knowing that I'm half-assing it... I feel like a cheater.
And I want to teach my children about integrity. I want to teach them that they should stand up for professionalism, for intelligence. For doing their best. Regardless of how unpopular or isolated in might make them for a time. No matter how many people might tell them that they're wasting they're energy, or making them look bad. I want my children to know that they should always do their best. Should always BE their best.
So for me, this degree is going to represent a betrayal of my ideals. And that really hurts. But it's just as important that I set an example for my children that they finish what they start. No matter how long it takes. So I'm going to finish.
So often, I find myself looking at a crowd and seeing a mass of ignorant, angry, or frightened strangers. People who are looking for any excuse to follow- not to have to think for themselves. And there are two kinds of people who can see the crowd and stay out of it- people of character and integrity, and people who want to lead the frightened masses. Who want to tell them who to blame, who to castigate, who to attack.
I don't want to be that kind of person. I want to be the sort of person who slowly but surely opens their eyes to the crowd around them, to the dangerous wackos pointing them in meaningless circles, and help them find a way to their own path- and their own mind. I want other people to find that integrity within themselves, to hold themselves up as the best example of themselves that they can be. Not to half-ass it when they can be so brilliant.
|M and his children|
I just hope I can set aside all of my disappointment and disillusionment and enjoy it when it happens.