Tuesday, March 31, 2009

College and Reality

Sometimes, it's hard finding meaning to the things I do here. I know that I'm supposed to be at college to learn and get an education-and I am doing a lot of both- but its hard for me to feel okay with myself doing that given my own provenance and the realities-and difficulties- of home. Life at college is incredibly detached from reality in a very troubling way. I know that this sort of detachment is necessary for students to focus on their studies and learning, but it often comes at the expense of many more important things. St. Louis and Wash U are a great example of an isolated education taking place amid a place yearning for interaction, engagement, and an education of its own. And I guess that's part of the problem. Because having the time and leisure available to pursue an academic education is a privilege ascribed mainly to the upper classes, it is the culture of these upper classes that defines and describes the college experience. And it's this sort of culture-one that can value isolation and knowledge above dialogue and community- that can cause its students to lose sight of the world beyond their windows.

Basically, I feel as if I have become sedated by idealized notions of becoming educated and well-versed in the cultural practices a college education affords me. I have been neglecting and forgetting home and what that means to me. I don't know if that's okay. Well, I know it isn't. This has left me feeling unsatisfied with my life here and I wonder if I am indeed wasting my time or not.

Because, really, I'm not here for an education. This place and whatever degrees and social circles it affords me are but a means to an end. I love learning things about the world and life, but that's a hobby and i used it as an excuse to get. College, for me, is about coming up, taking a piece of life for myself, and returning home to share it.Learning and an education are potent instruments of change and that's what I intend to use them for. And in that way, there is a sense of urgency to what I am doing, a desperate need to get through the formalities of this education so that I can begin to affect my surroundings, situations, and the world, as a whole. Waiting is the most frustrating aspect of being here.

But at the same time, I am lured and tempted by the comfort associated with the quiet life of academia. So I spend my time and money pondering and reading, writing and listening, looking and drawing all the while feeling like I'm not doing much of anything at all. I come home and I have little to show for my time away other than knowledge. You cannot put a price on knowledge, true, but its clear to everyone who goes to college, that really, you can. So that's when I begin to wonder if its worth it. That's when I begin to wonder if my education with worth my own time and the money others spend on it.

Maybe I'm supposed to struggle with this sort of thing. I did, after all, leave home in order to gain a better appreciation for the people, places, and things I had been taking for granted. And nothing serves as a better way of figuring our who you are than being surrounded by kinds of people you definitely know you aren't. But I wish my life here was a bit more grounded.

Upcycle, please


1 comment:

Matt said...

Ahh, junior year disillusionment. At times I feel as though my life is on the b-side of the vinyl and the album is ready to be flipped. Other times I think I can listen to white noise just a bit longer.

In a roundabout way of saying it, I empathize with you post.

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