As a college student, it’s pretty much my job to get really stressed out on occasion. School isn’t always exactly a cakewalk, and sometimes it’s best to just ignore my looming pictures of the future and focus only on things immediately at hand; the future is a scary thing to think about—I’m graduating soon. While I’m excited to be done with school, I’m not excited at the prospect of trying to find a job with my degree in English (emphasis: Literary Studies). I feel like my whole life has been leading up to this point where I get to go off and really show the world who I am—become a hardworking adult with not just a job but a CAREER: a life of my own choosing. It’s terrifying to think that any of the choices I’ve made could have been wrong.
But my thoughts continually return to my favorite class I’ve had to date—we’re not just talking my favorite college course; I really mean it is my favorite class EVER. I’ve had a lot of teachers I’ve loved and learned so much from, but this class has stuck in my mind the way no other ever has. The themes of it return to me all the time—it’s honestly changed many aspects of my perspective on life and experience. This class was my Literary Theory class last semester.
On the surface, it shouldn’t have been as life changing to me as it was; on the surface it just looks like any other university literature course—no, I take that back. On the surface it looks more pointless than your average university literature course. I confess as I read through the syllabus on the first day I couldn’t really remember why I’d signed up for the class beyond the fact that I’d heard the teacher was fabulous: the course description basically sounded like, “This class is going to be about spooky ghost stories in literature and the roles of the supernatural in our daily lives.” I was thinking it would be crazy and useless and asking myself why ON EARTH I was going to spend an entire semester reading and discussing the supernatural—that is really not my kind of thing at all. I don’t buy into ghost stories; I’d never become a “ghost-hunter”.
But for whatever reason (probably because the extremely clever and perhaps slightly eccentric professor intrigued me from day one) I stuck with the class. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
That class helped me come to a realization that I suppose I’ve known all along, but that I’d never given much thought to previous to taking the class. THE REALIZATION: We don’t have control over a lot of what surrounds us, only of how we react to those surroundings; the world is chuck full of chaos—chaos that’s nearly impossible to decipher. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, yet it’s our natural instinct and desire as mankind to make sense of the things we don’t understand. While in many cases this is fantastic—giving us new technologies or medicines or ways to accomplish things—sometimes we become so fixated on complete understanding and control that it tears us apart and impedes further progress in other areas. There comes a time when we just have to accept that we can’t control everything or know everything or understand everything—to accept the chaos for what it is—to willingly plunge ourselves into it at times and come away from it not fully comprehending it all, but feeling enlightened on some aspect of it…and knowing that that’s okay. “Willingly fling yourself down the rabbit hole and emerge enlightened instead of insane,” became the constant motto of the course.
And that was just the message I needed to hear. Now as I look to my not-entirely-certain future, I try to de-stress a little: it’s okay that I don’t know exactly what I’m doing after I graduate; it’s okay that school feels chaotic at times and that the real world is even more so. As long as I emerge from the rabbit hole feeling enlightened—as long as I come away from every chaotic experience having learned something—having improved myself—it was all worth it.
EMBRACE THE CHAOS!
Under-Appreciated Vocabulary Word of the Day:
gallimaufry (gal-li-maw'-free) n. a hodgepodge, jumble; a mixture of diverse things
Random Movie Quote for Your Entertainment:
“My journey took me somewhat further down the rabbit-hole than I'd initially intended and, though I dirtied my fluffy white tail, I've emerged… enlightened.”
—Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes (2009)