Tomorrow morning is the beginning of my second semester of my junior year in college. First two classes on the agenda? Religion & Contemporary Pop Culture and Performing Autobiography. Both classes are for my minors, Religious Studies and Theater Arts respectively. Thank God this semester for the first time, except for Latin that is, I'm taking classes solely for my degree. After this Shakespeare class, I need a Transnational/Post-Colonial course and then I'm done being an English major. Two more religion classes and three more required theater classes, though I'll be taking four. Pass World of Cicero and make it on to Roman Poetry. Throw a couple B.S. classes in there and I'm good to go.
Now, let's let that paragraph sink in. Ready?
Freaked out yet enough? Because my brain is doing something a little like this: "AHHHHHH!!!"
They say your college years go by quickly and I remember hearing the same thing in high school, yet you never believe it until it's almost over. How can I be this close to the end, so close I can sufficiently plan out my next three semesters? Winter break was the last long period of time (more than two weeks or so, I mean) that I'll be staying at home in Wisconsin. I'll be living here in Iowa City from now on and for at least a year post-grad.
Things, big adult people things now suddenly matter. What the fuck am I going to do with my life?! "Oh," I think as I read old blog posts, "look at that cocky asshole who has her shit figured out. Wait, that's supposed to be me." Talking the talk...talking the talk...walking the walk is coming soon, my friends. My classmates are either worrying about getting into grad schools and that perfect summer-after-senior-year-internship, or are in my situation: knowing the gravy boat is coasting to a stop all too soon.
The first I could have dealt with: worrying about classes, GPA's, scholarships, grants, recommendation letters, grad applications, etc. That I've done before but on a smaller scale. "Focus on your academics and the rest will fall into place," I've always thought. That part of my life is almost over now and I wonder, "Where do I go from here?" I find myself drifting off into space frequently, pondering my future, and snapping out of it when it looks too bleak and dismal.
I didn't do as well as I should have last semester because I started questioning the importance of the classes I was taking. What will my ability to analyze cinematic transitions do in my writing career? How will understanding soil and the composition of rocks help pay the bills? When will I ever need to know how to parse lines 120-131 of Cicero's First Oration? Why do I need a great GPA if I won't be going to grad school?
Oh, I forgot, your stupid ego. The idea of sitting at the family table at Thanksgiving and not being able to look your grandfather in the eye when he asks how classes are going. Knowing you'll hate yourself for not doing your absolute best. Giving up when there is no benefit for said actions or lack thereof. Not finishing strong, playing hardball, fighting for that paper, striving to set that curve, competing with everyone around you, showing again and again why you deserve to be here.
Feeling like it all matters. This time matters. Stressing over a final matters. Living for school matters. Being a college student matters. Pots upon pots of coffee and energy drinks matter. Ten page papers on books you barely read matter. You matter.
You matter. You've done something special as everyone around you does the same thing. What a feat to achieve amidst such a large graduating class. Thank God you have such a challenging major so you weren't being a pussy all those nights in the library. Good thing you have a logical reason for typing so loudly on the keyboard. Making noise makes you feel important.
I write these blog posts, I think, to have something to show for myself. Leave some kind of mark on the inter-web. At the end of the day, what do I have that is tangible? Papers I love but not every English professor will have nerdgasms over. Smoothies in the bellies of tired college students coming to my workplace. Grades I am proud to share with my dad but will be forgotten months from now.
I write not to do something. I write to be something. I matter when I write regardless of the content. Random shit like this, a chapter here and there for my book, sketching out character bio's, and shifting the plot of a trilogy around like a 1,000 piece puzzle. All of it for some purpose, I suppose. It's silly to think this quickly typed blog will change anything or anyone. Do I care though? Is this instead for me?
My boyfriend and I were talking late last night while eating cereal on the floor of his apartment. We were talking about purpose and what scope our life's purpose should be in; and in the end, why does it matter? Alright, so I hate philosophy since I can never win and I hate losing. There are no answers in philosophy and I usually stop arguing to let my brain regain it's composure. Somehow though I never mind getting wrapped up in one of these conversations...until I get frustrated. He was making good points (even if they were sullen and a bit dark) and I couldn't figure out a way to counter. Damn it!
I sit here now in my room in my sorority house, my knees bent up to my chest and my bangle clanking annoyingly against the edge of the desk every time I hit the space bar. I realize I don't give a fuck what my life purpose is in any sense. I probably should, but I don't think I do. Unless, of course, I look to my writing. I write to have a purpose. I write things that are witty, pathetic, poetic, intense, emotional, and anything in-between.
I write because I can't stop. There's this craving that cannot be sated. No matter how much I write, there's more I have to say. Stories, thoughts, sentences, words pouring out of my brain and onto this page. I write because I search for perfection. In my writing there are times I get close, but never fully there. It's a never-ending internal battle I have waged unknowingly. I care about my future but don't at the same time. I do care if I'll still be able to type seventy years from now. I will keep searching (and should probably start giving a crap about school again) for that perfect piece of artistic expression. In the meantime, this writer's word vomit will have to suffice.