Thoughts after finishing my final year as an undergraduate.
LOOK MOM, I FINISHED MY DEGREE!!!1!1
Granted, I haven’t walked across a stage in front of all my peers, friends, and family to receive a little piece of paper with my name and some dumb letters on it yet, but WhO CaReS! I’ll probably trip and fall in the too-tall heels I’ll pretend I’m grown-up enough to wear anyway.
For those of you who don’t know, I just spent four years in a post-secondary educational institution completing a BA Honours in English.
That’s English literature, not the language… It began just like any other multi-year commitment: I was so excited to be moving to another city and meeting new people who were actually interested in the same things I was, and I really just wanted to have a fresh start somewhere where no one knew who I was. I’m also one of those freaks who actually likes to learn, so I was jazzed about all the wisdom that was about to be imparted upon me.
Needless to say, it wasn’t all fun and games. Who knew that in first year you DON’T get to just take courses about Shakespeare and Contemporary writers and Post-Modernism and all that awesome stuff. NooooOooO, in first year you have to take HUMANITIES. AND NATURAL SCIENCE. AND SOCIAL SCIENCES. I thought taking a course about Dinosaur Extinction would be neat, but I had to learn physics. Fucking physics. Like, how much damage an asteroid that was x kilometers wide traveling at x kilometers an hour at x angle to the earth would do. PARDON?!?! I just wanted to watch cool Discovery Channel documentaries about dinos and eat chips in class 😦
I did get to take two English courses, though. One in the fall semester, and one in the winter semester. “WooOoW, cool down School, don’t want me to take too many courses in my own major at once now, do you?” They were pretty cool, I mean I got my first taste of what the core of the program would be like and I got an introduction to literary theory and stuff. But I also learned about grammar. Like… where the fucking comma goes in a sentence, or how to fucking capitalize proper nouns. I was sitting there like, “didn’t we learn this in third grade?” -thus began my vendetta against 20-somethings who still don’t know proper grammatical practices- Anyway, I thought I was tough shit because I already knew everything they were teaching us…… and then I got my first ever C+ on a paper. 😥
Like, I don’t get C’s. I just don’t. Eventually I got a grip and it became easier to accept the C’s ’cause nobody’s perfect *pirouettes*.
Somehow, I made it through first year. WHEW. I thought I was in the clear. I had experience all of the turmoils of freshman year (including eating either KFC/Taco Bell for five days in a row) and had survived. I thought, “hey, second year will be way better!” Nope.
It turns out that SOMEONE LIED TO ME. Well, no. Someone just failed to mention some crucial facts about my degree requirements, so I found out a little bit too late that, no, it’s not okay to only take 24 credits in your first year instead of the full 30 because you actually won’t graduate in 4 years. WHO KNEW. I was also unaware of these fun little things called “general education” credits, which are required courses in three/four specific disciplines that you MUST take in order to graduate. So, even if you’re taking a goddamned fine arts degree, you STILL have to suffer through a full year each of Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science, and Modes of Reasoning. It goes without saying that my year was possessed entirely by the sorrows of taking courses that I knew nothing about. I finished the year with a C+ in one course, simply because I didn’t like it. Like, what would happen if students could take courses they actually wanted to take instead of completely irrelevant studies that will realistically not assist in getting them work after getting their degree? They would probably actually ~*~SuCcEeD~*~ God forbid.
Third and fourth year kind of blur together. Mostly it’s all just memories of writing essays last minute or staying up all night to complete a seminar I was doing that day or drinking so much coffee that I literally threw up…
Or feeling so much rage and passionate hatred for school and everything that came with it that I actually contemplated committing several felonies and then proceeding to drop out and move to Russia…
But, somewhere in that cacophony of depressive and debilitating emotions, I think I actually grew to appreciate some of the cool shit I was learning. In third year, I took a course called Contemporary Literature. I took it because I was tired of reading canonical literature that a bunch of old white men had read and decided were awesome so they formulated academic essays and journals about them and made them “classics.” I wanted to read novels and poems and essays by people who had actually been born in the last half-century, and to be able to comment on their work from my own perspective and observations, not based on what someone else has already postulated. I wanted to read stuff that had heavy social commentary on the moment I am personally living in, not the tenement situation in London ninety years ago. You guys. This course changed my life.
I learned that I was passionate about studies in contemporary literature. I learned all about the crisis of the contemporary capitalist moment, and how trauma is newly becoming manifest in narratives. I found something that I was actually interested in, and it lead me to decide to pursue these studies in a Literatures of Modernity MA program this fall. Somehow, by sticking it out through all of the hardships and adversities of being an undergraduate student, I managed to procure a MO’FUKKEN UNIVERSITY DEGREE YOU GUYS!
Now I just have to survive life without the perpetual anxiety of academia looming over my head 24/7.