Friday, July 30, 2004

the prospect of peace

It is Friday night. I should be completing my lab notebook and preparing for Wednesday's presentation, but I am not. I'm not so sure why I think I need to spend my Friday night doing homework, but that's the feeling I get. I've had a rash of wanting to get things done ahead of time. (I wanted to use an antonym for "procrastination," but I couldn't find one. Looking at, I did notice that "retardation" is a synonym for "procrastination." O, the comfort I find in that.)

I did another great exercise in Murray Bible-ity today. I continually freak out about not being able to graduate in the traditional four years. The truth is that I can, but I'm paranoid nonetheless. After manipulating my checklist of required courses into manageable chunks called semesters, I can see that if I take a reasonable, not even strenuous, amount of credit hours over the next two academic years including summer 2005, May 2006 will see my graduation. The thought of graduation, in and of itself, is also highly intimidating. But what scares me about the upcoming semesters is not the number of hours I will have to take. I've tackled larger course-loads in my day. It is the prospect of what courses I will be taking concurrently. There is no way to avoid taking a big scary education class while also taking a big scary English course or multiples of the same kind. The necessary evil of what is known as an area: like double-majoring without a minor. What happens when collegiate study becomes an elective-free endeavor is an intense, 100% hard-core battery of academia. Now that I've likened the future of my college career to hell, hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised when it is not hellacious at all. Hopefully.

All of this recent talk and contemplation of attaining a degree makes me realize that I'm in school to be a teacher. No matter how many times I resign myself to this fact, every time think about it, it is like a hilarious revelation. And it's not that I do not want to be a teacher, but it is occasionally ridiculous to me that I am not only mastering an area of study, but also I am training for a very specific occupation. Not every major is like that. Many are degrees that could lead down nearly any path. I cannot decide if that is freedom or ambiguity or if a professional degree at the bachelor level is an embodiment of objective and ambition or unfair restraint. I have to at least tell myself that I don't have to be a teacher so that I don't suffer from academic claustrophobia. Wouldn't it be similar to not utilizing a minor? Lots of people never do anything with their minors, right? Not to say that I haven't learned many valuable things that I can use whether or not I end up in education. Not to say that I don't anticipate being in education, at least for part of my career. It is just a matter of keeping myself sane.

And this speculation leads to another question: If I'm not a teacher, what will I be? Sadly, that's a question that has been somewhat of a guide. Mostly, my answer to that question is that I do not know. Possibly a very immature mode of decision-making, but it's what I've got. I suppose that I think I am taking the safe road by aspiring to be an educator. Isn't that how many people become teachers? Of course, that doesn't make them good teachers. Yet another fear of mine. Will I even survive as a teacher? I honestly cannot answer that question, but there are very few questions about the future that anyone can answer. But I do have two different dreams that, I guess, could co-exist. I like to think of one of them as practical and the other as ideal, but those two adjectives are not necessarily binary opposites. Both could be the practical ideal. It seems practical to me to want to be a great educator. It seems ideal to me to be a writer of some sort. But then come the doubts. What on earth makes me think I can be a writer? And then the one that undermines any shred of confidence I might have. What on earth makes me think I can be a teacher? (So it is quite obvious I have little confidence in myself.)

The operative phrase in both of those questions is this: what on earth. I believe that any ability of mine is not really mine at all, but is a gift of God. But are these my gifts, or just selfish ideas for myself? Living for myself would be quite disastrous. (I have just come to a mental place where I somehow cannot form an intelligible sentence, so I apologize.) So I all I really do know, despite all my planning and freaking out, is that my future is in my hands in that it is up to me to put my future in God's hands. To worry and fret is to waste time, energy, and the prospect of peace.

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