I’ve been thinking, again, about going back to school.
To be fair, I never actually stop thinking about going back to school. I’m like a hungry baby when it comes to education – I always want more.
I’m thinking a lot today about going back to school. I want another degree – whether another Master’s or a Ph.D. doesn’t really matter to me – though the degree itself isn’t the motivation. I want to be challenged and to be inspired. I want to work and to think and to discover things that I didn’t know before. I want to write and to argue and to convince. I want to learn more as a student so that I can be a better teacher.
I’ve been circling around areas of concentration for a while now, and I think I’m narrowing in on the literature and history of the American Civil Rights era. I’m withholding a final judgment on that until after my fellowship at Not So Local College’s Holocaust center this summer, but I know for sure that I’ve always been drawn to the writing and thinking that comes out of human struggle. Apartheid, the Native American experience, gay and lesbian literature, India’s fight for independence from England and, of course, the work of both the Holocaust and the Civil Rights are absolutely fascinating to me, and I’m itching to design a program of study of the literature of the oppressed
The struggle for equality – for humanity – finds its highest expression, I think, in art. I’m not entirely sure that it’s possible to struggle for something as momentous as freedom without artistic expression. I’m still working my way toward this idea, of course, and I’m going to need advisers who are much smarter than I to put me on a path that might actually lead somewhere, but I’m certainly not short of enthusiasm. I’m ready, I think, to think like a student again.
Earning degrees is a lot like giving birth. It’s hard work. It takes a lot longer than one wants it to. I remember well the lead-up to finishing my Master’s, and how much it really sucked. Like giving birth, though, there’s joy in it (and, like giving birth, one needs a recovery time to forget how much it sucked and be willing to do it again). Yes, the work is hard and yes, sometimes it’s painful. It’s work that’s rarely done in isolation, though, and the end result is always worth the effort.