I‘m sitting in discussion, scribbling this in the corner when I should be listening to the insights of others. Technically, I can still hear them of course, but frankly, I lost track of what was going on awhile ago. Everybody’s voices sound distant and dissipated, like I’m standing at the mouth of a cave.
Wait – did I mention I’m graduating? That’s really the first thing, should start there.
OK, so due to various AP credits, summer classes and flukes of bad planning, I’ll be ready to graduate by the end of this term. So, for me, college is pretty much, as the French say, “le kàput” (they’re not as poetic as you’ve been led to believe).
This is probably insignificant to you, but nothing short of serendipitous from the perspective of my parents, not an inch below tragic to friends and an indefinite mix of the two for yours truly.
I guess that brings us back to this anonymous classroom where I’m writing. It’s altogether likely you’re sitting in one right now, reading this while ignoring the professors / GSIs / your more ambitious peers discussing the lectures we should have attended and the books we should have read. I’m making this sound like I never pay attention, which isn’t true, but whether or not I end up pontificating or transcribing the pontifications of others, it’s bottom-line time – I’m getting sick of it either way.
I found the title of this column in a notebook from freshman year. I was searching for a long, lost syllabus to convince our Political Science department that I didn’t need to retake a prerequisite, and I found those words scribbled in the margins of lecture notes dated from three years ago.
Hard to say precisely what I meant then. Maybe it was just a general feeling of being overwhelmed (Hey freshman! If you’re not liking college yet, don’t let it drive you insane. Your parents, teachers and the University haven’t mentioned it, but the first couple weeks, hell months, will suck for lots of you. Hated high school? Coming here won’t instantly solve any problems kiddos. Speaking of problems, why am I still writing in paraphrases?)
I may have not meant it seriously at all, or maybe it was a moment of being over dramatic and grumpy. I might have been just been getting sick of Academia and the sometimes stifling, contentious world that surrounds it. Too many indifferent professors and bitter GSIs wrapped up in their own studies and fostering a “safe, open learning space” to teach anything.
I wouldn’t doubt that I feeling bitter myself, possible about the sunny optimism and lemming-like careerism of other students. I didn’t know what I wanted to be then, have only a vaguer idea now of what comes next and a quietly smoldering resentment to people who have it all planed out.
I guess I assumed college was going to be a direct stepping stone to the real world or at the very least the job market. I’m not particularly better connected to either one than I was leaving high school. I have got a better sense of what I’d like to do with my life, but mainly via the process of elimination, from figuring out what I can’t stomach rather than what I love. Maybe I’m actually worse off than I was leaving high school, cause I don’t have any delusions of heading off to a utopian collegiate paradise after this graduation.
Regardless, the field’s narrowed job-wise. I found various nitches and made some changes which made college an infinitely better place (find something outside the classroom froshes).
But, sitting here now and staring out the window, I feel like I’m back to where I was when I jotted down that line: limbo.
I don’t feel like a belong here, and in a few short months the University will hand me a slip of paper to prove it. I won’t be college material at all then; I’ll be a product of college.
Grim news indeed friends, especially since nobody seems interested in buying pre-packaged post-grads in the current economical climate.
So anyways, I’ll tell you my super secert plan to make everything alright. I’ve heard of a place for misfits like us where we won’t be judged and won’t be tearing at each other for scraps thrown down from profs.Where only what we know will be important and everything we learn will be practical. Where jobs will be thrown by the handful after I’m ready to leave.
Kids I’m going to … GRAD SCHOOL! HURRAH!!
(Editor’s note – As the author wrote these final words, his entire class grew quiet. The author lept upon his desk and began a beautiful song about the benfits of grad school. The class joined in the song, striking pre-rehearsed dance moves. Everyone everywhere on campus proceed to leave their gray classrooms and sing the praises of the mythical wonders of post-graduate education. All converged on the Diag, where ice cream, pony rides and pink balloons were handed out. Mary Sue and a homeless guy did a big tap off for the finale. It was sweet.)
– Scott Serilla usually is much more pleasant when he isn’t staring down a deadline. Email him and see for yourself at email@example.com.