Monday, September 28, 2009

the bottom line


This is how close I am to graduating from college.

All the pink stuff will be done by the end of spring term/on time for graduation.

HOWEVER, the black circle signifies the Historical Perspectives requirement I am said not to have met (regardless of the History course I have taken). If I can't meet this by petition I will have to give up on a Russian Minor. And the arrow is to the English major requirements, wherein they have told me my "Critical Approaches" course doesn't count for the theory course at UMN-TC. Greeaaatt. At the same time they won't let me take a class at the TC that WOULD count for the requirement because it is too close to the content in my "Critical Approaches" class. They might not let me take my Senior Seminar this spring because I haven't met the language/theory requirement.

This is sooo messed up. Right now I am actively taking 17 credits but I am technically signed up for 23. If I finished the "Origins of English Words" course that I have via distance learning then this would all be OK. I have the Short Story class mostly finished.

Tomorrow I am going to a mandatory information meeting about the English Senior Seminars. They obviously have a flair for the dramatic because they haven't put the titles of the courses on the schedule yet. It figures that they would want to ~reveal~ them to us in a way that wastes an hour of our time.

If I channel Kanye West: the University of Minnesota Twin Cities doesn't care about English majors.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the beginning of something long and painful

So, my Fall 2009 class list is as follows:

Russian Art and Culture (3 cr)
Intermediate Russian I (5 cr)
Shakespeare (3 cr)
19th Century British Novel (3 cr)
The Wilde Nineties (3 cr)

Basically, a 17-credit hell of my own making.

While the classes I am taking are more geared towards my real interests than they have been in any other term (wow, it was a revelation to consciously put that into words) and their content is--on the whole-- fascinating, the combination of five courses at once has left me with no time for any true pleasures in life. Eating, sleeping, crafting, baking...talking with my mother and calling my siblings. I have little or no time to do any of these things anymore. And judging by the schedule I laid out on Friday of the next four months, I won't have any time for these things or Christmas planning (and in my family I have become the one who does the Christmas planning).

You have deduced that this is stolen time. I require a little time before going to sleep to decompress. Perhaps this will be beaten out of me.

Getting to class, almost more than the classes themselves, has become a major tax on my energy and general will-to-survive. I daily confirm my belief that living in a small town is much better than a dirty metropolis-- especially for someone who doesn't really enjoy any of its benefits, like shopping and the culture of bar crawling. Overall, it is a very grim Catherine who wearies to and from campus several times a day over broken glass and other refuse of frat row.

(I wish I could say that referencing myself in the third person was a product of too much Bertram Wooster, but it is not. It must be the coming insanity of overpowering civilization. Maybe this is the same thing.)

One of the things I feel bad about in this neglect of self is not giving adequate attention to the people who I've met over Lang-8 and who graciously help me with my Russian whenever I've had to time to post something. One even sent me a whole message with MP3s to Russian music at my request-- and I haven't even had the chance to download them all, listen and reply. Whenever I have a moment of free time I find myself either sleeping, worrying about things I have to do, or letting my brain be tranquilized by bad television. Hopefully, I'll find more time to give to them once I become more efficient with my schedule (though I don't know how, because all I ever seem to do is homework until I can't read anymore) or on Christmas break.

Anyways, before I was in this deeper circle of hell, I was in one that was relatively easier to bear-- only a few leaden yokes, small fires and such-- and I was able to go on a walk around and take these pictures.

This was a period of time after my summer terms ended and before my fall term began. It became cool for a spell and though I was still mildly tormented by distance learning courses, at least I got to sleep in.

It is one of the many sadness es of life that times that are good can only be fully appreciated in retrospect. Only sentimental or very silly people will say "this is the happiest moment of my life"-- none of them really mean it and they say it too often to be true. (Now, this is definitely Lord Henry Wotton speaking.)

But the thought does occur to me very often: why can't this make me happy? In truth, it is the accumulation of years of work and the realization of many old wishes. So much so, that it is startling to think about how close my life has come to what I've wanted it to be. I live in my own apartment in Minneapolis. I go to a legitimate university (the last two institutions seemed to lack this quality). I read novels and write excruciating papers as an English major (though the excruciating part was never in the plan). I am in intermediate Russian. I can drive. I have a car. I am not in any way obese.

How depressing it is to think that all of this has transpired and I do not feel much happier day-to-day.

It comes down to consciously making an effort to enjoy life's minutiae. Or maybe, picking the right things to want. Or perhaps, wanting what one has. Or if it is all just chaotic, trying to remember to want what one wanted once.

I think I understand that carpe diem notion now.