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pensive weather today

November 4, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

[edit: added the poll from here to the sidebar.  Does it look obnoxious?  I think it looks obnoxious.  I’m not sure how long I’ll leave it up there.]

I’ve taken up knitting again, mostly out of a desire to make myself a wool hat with earflaps for the coming winter.  It’s amazing how it is at once calming and meditative, and also a breeding ground for thoughts to gather and coalesce.  The same thing happens when I’m in the shower or taking a long drive.  Any single running dialogue that occurs within my skull at those times would make for a hefty and meandering blog post.

Case in point:

One particular observation I’ve made these last few months on campus as someone who is no longer a student is just the level of discussion I hear around me.  I am constantly catching bits and pieces of academic discourse between students, filled with passion and the kind of vocabulary you never thought you’d hear again after taking the SATs.  It is exciting, in some ways, but I wonder how self-congratulatory and self-conscious it is.  Being that we are under the shadow of a prestigious institution, the majority of kids here have an intrinsic love of learning for learning’s sake and for self-betterment.

And yet…my college education has never quite sat completely well with me.  It seems that there is too much riding on us, too much that students are doing, are expected to do, are planning to do, and it never seems to be enough.  Senior year of high school, when I finally chose my school and told the main office, the secretary smiled and told me that she knew which school I’d pick.  There was only ever one, obvious choice.  Remembering that comment today, I thought, yes, and maybe that’s why the rates of suicide in Ivy League schools run so high.

This past weekend, I participated in a fundraising walk for suicide prevention.  A classmate of mine killed herself a few months ago – a few months after we all graduated.  I never knew her, though I knew of her, and yet I find myself wishing I could ask her what drove her to kill herself.  I wonder if her thoughts were anything like my own have been, in the not too distant past.  I wish it was easier to talk about suicide in general, instead of feeling the heavy weight of social taboo around the topic.

Is it all worth it?  The prestige of an Ivy brand degree, the competition for a decreasing job market, the complexes that come with being considered somehow “higher” than another?  A professor (and alum of the same school), while talking with a group of us, once commented, “I can’t wait until you guys get over your Ivy League degree.”

Ah, well.  In any case…I hadn’t planned to write such a heavy post.  I guess I have been “in a mood” today, as a friend would put it.  After a couple hours of knitting, my head is thick with thoughts.  Thank god I have this blog to excavate some of those thoughts.

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Categories: reflection
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  1. November 16, 2008 at 3:31 pm

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