I’ve finally got the opportunity to sit down and right some stuff out, so here it goes…
At the end of my first semester I had that awful feeling college was going to be a lot like high school, except more expensive. Over the winter break I had plenty of time to think and just work out some thoughts and for whatever reason I decided to continue blogging. I had also sent off a rather depressing e-mail to a professor, who in turn, responded with a thoughtful e-mail. I think I can pinpoint that as the beginning of the change in how I view education. One line from the e-mail in particular resonated, “The point of real education is to learn how to make sense out of the world, which is a lifelong goal.” I had never really thought about this before, what the heck is this real education all about? I had come to college because I had to and realistically you can’t get a well paying job without one. No wonder why college can be such a soul-sucking experience (well at least for me), if you are doing it purely to get a good job then the degree is all you are really after. Not that getting a degree is a bad goal, it is the way students (including myself) try to achieve the goal that I had come to greatly dislike. I’m only now starting to break out of the student hypnosis. Waking up from “the matrix” perhaps? This summer I plan to do a lot of thinking and planning (for lack of a better word) on what real education is and what it means in the context of my classes at college. A revolution of sorts or maybe a few changes, I’m not quite sure yet, either way I’ll have practically 4 months to explore the idea.
Ok, back track a little to when I first started blogging “on my own”. I started to do more clicking around and finding links to other people’s blogs, blog-stalking if you will, and my RSS feeds began to grow. Now I can say I am an obsessive Bloglines checker. First thing in the morning I check my e-mail, followed by Bloglines, and then Facebook. I wish I had some sort of counter to see how many times I actually click on Bloglines, I am sure it is an embarrassingly high number. I digress though, as I clicked around I began to see connections. Bloggers were having conversations and bloggers I followed were showing up on other blogs I followed. I started doing those random clicks, finding articles and posts, and I would later discover a blogger I followed would mention the same thing. Increasingly it feels like people are reading my mind. During the semester I broke out of some of my lurker tendencies and commented on other’s blogs. Knowing how much I get excited (maybe a little too excited) when people comment on my blog I thought it was only fair to do the same. At the Student Academy I met people who’s blogs I had been reading, it was a surreal moments in many ways. I kind of compare it to meeting a celebrity, you’ve seen them in pictures and read their blogs and there they are! They really exist! Some of my friends thought it was a little weird to get so excited, but they aren’t bloggers so they wouldn’t understand. 😉
In the midst of all the exciting discoveries in the blogosphere I almost forgot about the work I actually have to do while I’m at college. I’ve never been a very good school student and have often been on the receiving end of “you could do so well, if you tried” comments. My favorite incident has to be at the end of my senior year, me and my friends were talking with one of our former English teachers who we occasionally hung out with during our free periods and knowing that I had a younger brother she told me she might end up having him because she was going to teach sophomore English the following year. She asked me, “Is your brother like you? Smart, but lazy?” My friends still tease me about that one. In reality I would rather not be the smart, but lazy type. In fact it really bothers me when people insist that they are smart but, they don’t try, as if that justifies laziness. I’ve given up using that excuse because it is not, if you were truly smart you wouldn’t be wasting your potential and it just perpetuates the problem. So along with the other things I will be thinking about this summer I need to find a clear course of action for change, something that is tangible. God knows how many times I’ve said “this time I’ll do it differently”, but I never do. If only I could study for a test with the same intensity that I watch a new episode of CSI I would have an A in every class. This is a common plight, isn’t it? Turning ideas and words into action and progress.
My mind has been thoroughly saturated with all sorts of ideas this school year and hopefully the summer will help me sort out the pieces of debris floating in my mind. It feels like just the other day I was moving in, not knowing what to expect, and excited about my new found independence. I’ve had some lows and highs, cried a few times, laughed a lot, been inspired by people, challenged to think, given up, tried again, and managed to not go completely off the deep end. Thinking back to my freshman year of high school, I went through a lot changes, mostly due to events that were beyond my control. It was a year of a lot of growth and life changing experiences, for better or for worse. My freshman year of high school completely changed my outlook on life and surely changed the direction of my life. Now, looking back at my freshman year of college I see a lot of the same things again. There has been a lot growth and surely the things I have experienced this year have changed the direction of my life. In the beginning of the year I often asked, “what if?”, what if I had gone to Ithaca College like I wanted and what if this and what if that. Of course a person could “what if” themselves to death, but now I am just thankful for whatever confluence of events caused me to end up at Mary Washington. It may sound dorky, but I’ve honestly met some of the most fascinating and awesome people I’ve ever known and I wonder how did I get so lucky that I would even know these people. The thought of leaving Mary Washington three years from now is already a depressing thought, but I am glad I still have so much time left. There is a bright and shiny future ahead and who doesn’t like shiny things? So as I pack my boxes and finish my first year I know that this is not just an ending, but a beginning. A year ago I don’t think I could have envisioned being where I am now and in another year I hope to be in the same exact place. I don’t want any of my expectations to be met, I want it to be beyond that. Here is to all the things that will come!