Monday, December 1, 2008

Perpetual Student

I am applying to graduate school for religious studies - ethics. Why? That is what the admissions committee wants to know. And I am having a hard time writing it down. I know why but none of it seems very scholarly. See, this is my dilemma - I am going back for my PhD so I can teach, write and do research. That would lead you to believe that I am a scholar. Maybe I am but in my mind that is a dirty word because I liken it to using big words and using "one" a great deal, i.e. "one should always use big words if one wants to get one's point across."

But I don't write like that. And I don't think like that. And in fact I try to use as few words as possible to get my point across. And I also seem to have a huge problem using commas properly. A problem identified by my Freshman Studies teacher in college. It hasn't gotten much better.

So, here I sit trying to write my graduate school entrance essays. And I am stumped. I am also overthinking the whole thing. And can I use words like "overthinking" in an essay? At times like these I think of my friend, we shall call her Wonder Woman, because she reminds me of the very best of WW's amazonian ancestry. I have spent the last 12 years of my life comparing myself, miserably so, to WW. She is taller than me, blonder than me (that's a joke! - she is blonde, but I am not - well, never mind) and such an amazing writer and scholar. Her points feel thought out and thorough and deep. She is brilliant in my estimation. She would do a really good job of writing this essay. And that is because she takes her time and wrestles with questions. She really goes through them from all angles until she reaches the center. That is discipline and skill.
I wonder if I have that skill, I can definitely develop that discipline.

WW inspires me. She breathes life into my thoughts and schemes. My mind tends to wander and get lost and then grasps on a whisper of an idea. I need to talk things out, debate with other people. I learn differently. And I wonder if the way I learn and express myself will be crushed in academia. Bottom line: Am I smart enough, in the ways that I am smart, to be a scholar?
Maybe I need to change the way I think of scholarly. And now I am rambling.

I titled this post "Perpetual Student" because I was going to write about how I have spent a great deal of my life in school. I love school. I also already have a master's degree and work part time as a college professor. And I want to stay there. Not because it's not the "real world" but because I think it is closer to what I want the real world to be, a place where you question and debate and try new things. But inside that freedom there is a network - an old -something network. There is tenure and publishing and competition. There are games that need to be played. And I guess that is true of any profession. I am in a place of apathy right now about my applications, partly because I don't know how to say what I want to say but mostly because I am afraid to say what I want to say: that I want to change the world. There I said it. At 30-something I am still an idealist. I am still engaged and I still believe that I have not lived up to my potential.

From Merriam-Webster's:
Perpetual:1 a
: continuing forever : everlasting <perpetual motion> b (1): valid for all time perpetual right> (2): holding (as an office) for life or for an unlimited time2: occurring continually : indefinitely long-continued <perpetual problems>3: blooming continuously throughout the season

scholar , learner ; especially : one who attends a school2: one who studies : an attentive and systematic observer student of politics>

My favorite: A blooming continuously throughout the season attentive and systematic observer.

That's me!

in peace

photo by Cheesemonster

1 comment:

carriex3 said...

YOU are AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!11
You would bring so much to this world of religious studies....
I am excited for your new direction:)