Thursday, 20 March 2008


The time came to choose courses for next year. Eek! This was, to say the least, mildly terrifying. I'm glad I've at least though things through; it kind of makes me shudder to listen to certain people on my floor who just went through the calendar and signed up for every course they thought was interesting. Although that sounds like a lot more fun, it also sounds like having to take an overload or an extra year in order to get the graduation requirements.

I, on the other hand, have my next year carefully planned out. I'm taking 2 credits in French and 2 credits in Early Modern, and 1 credit worth of elective. This puts me in a good position for my last 2 years, in which I'll need 3-6 more credits each in French and Early Modern, and 1-3 more elective credits.

And I feel good about the decision to take French and Early Modern. It's a good balance I think. The French makes my parents happy, and I'm good at it, so it will prevent me from constantly feeling like an idiot. Early Modern will probably be way harder, and I have no idea what the heck I'll do with a degree in it, but it will be so interesting.

The problem with me is to find a balance between practical and interesting. My interests have never been the most practical ones. As a child, I once told my mother that I wanted to be a dragon when I grew up. Once she explained the utter impossibility of that one, I changed my mind and decided to become a knight. She explained that I couldn't do that either. My third choice was to be an author, so at least I could write about dragons and knights. And that's the one that stuck. Realistically, though, that one is not overly plausible either; there are very few people who are able to support themselves entirely by writing.

So with this degree, I'll get the practicality of French, which, as my dear father never fails to point out, will be very useful if I go into teaching or government, and I'll also have the more interesting Early Modern Courses.

What I'm not particularly happy about is my elective. My parents kind of insisted that I take something a little more "practical" for it. Not that it mattered, since there wasn't really anything else I wanted to take as an elective anyway. Well, that's not entirely true. I would have really liked to take a course in music composition; I would love to be able to write music. Unfortunately, the music composition course had a music theory course listed a s a pre-req, which had another music theory course listed as a pre-req as well as an aural skills course listed as a co-req. And that's all my electives gone right there, not to mention that I HATE aural skills with a passion. So that was a no go. The other thing I would have liked to take is this course called "The Creative Process." The description sounds pretty awesome:

This is a large interdisciplinary class that focuses on creativity in a wide variety of artistic and other areas of thought and expression, such as writing, painting, music, acting/directing, dancing, mathematics, medicine, and advertising.

Unfortunately, it falls at the same time as one of my french classes, and if I drop that then there aren't enough other french classes that I can take which will make up two credits for next year. Maybe I can work it in for next year, though.

Anyway, other than those two, I could not find ANY courses that I actually wanted to take for an elective. So I settled on my parents "practical" idea and went from there. They had suggested management or accounting. Sorry Dad, but I'm not interested in managing. Anything. Ever. Deal with it. Accounting... might not have been too bad, but had the first year management course listed as a pre-req. Uh uh, not happening. In the end, I settled on "Effective Written Communication" and "Effective Oral Communication." They still sound pretty boring, but marginally less so. And at least more likely to be immediately useful.

My thing is, I just can't seem to come to a decent reconciliation between practical and interesting. It's kind of like back in January/February, when I was kind of considering not coming back to King's next year. Sometimes it just seems like such a waste of time and money. I've seen the graphs, I know that, supposedly, people with a university degree get "better" jobs with higher wages and all that. But what if you don't want one of their so-called better jobs? What if I don't want a job at all? I sometimes think I could be very content to just be a housewife. (Of course, if I actually went through with that, I'd probably be bored out of my mind constantly...) And then I listen to SG talk about how she built an anvil out of marshmallows and made sculptures of a raven's wing and hands and things like that, and all I can think is "Wow, what have I accomplished this year? Wrote a bunch of dumb essays that I hated and got bad marks on anyway. Woohoo." And it makes me feel bad about what I'm doing with my life and how pointless it is. On the other hand, though, I did get to read, you know, pretty much ALL of the great works of Western thought. That kind of was a bit of an awesome experience, and not really one that I can feel bad about.

I will never be happy with my life if I'm not doing something that will allow me to be creative and have fun. But I will also never feel good about it if I'm not making a decent amount of money and doing something respectable that my parents can be proud of. (Come on, my stinkin' brother is going to be an engineer, I've got to live up to that...). And, in a certain way, I will also not be happy if I'm not doing something to make the world a better place, because if I stop to think about it even for a second, I'm overcome by this sense of impending doom that would have me constantly sitting in a corner, trembling speechlessly , if I let it get to me.

I just don't know how to bring all these things together and make it work.

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