What I thought would be a quick poetry reading last night, ended up being a triple bill concert, with a number of other poets featured in addition to the friend I had come to see.
The unexpected is asserting itself as the new normal.
Meanwhile, I find myself having an old argument with a new person because all the people in my life think they understand the advising system of the University I attend that none of them knows anything about. I understand what other university systems are like, and I understand that what I’m describing sounds obviously flawed. But I have tried a number of variations in my approach to academic advising, from among a variety of resources available to me.
The result is the same: the graduation rubric is on the academic management system, and your transcript fills the advising report in neatly as you take classes. All academic advisors use the same system I have access to, with a limited number of advanced privileges and print out the same report that I printed out this September. Their explanations have always felt muddled and uninspired. Furthermore, each advisor is firmly ensconced in their own little corner of the university, each department can advise nothing beyond their own department, and any interdisciplinary impulse on the part of the student is within the realm of their own initiative.
The thing that has gotten me into the most amount of trouble with academic institutions since they started letting me make my own choices is that I am loathe to follow a linear course of study. Everything is relevant, and translation is the only thing that has ever really interested me. All I want is to ensure that the economists and the journalists and the political scientists and the biologists and the social theorists and the carpenters and teachers and the historians can speak to one another. I have failed to cultivate sustained attention.
So for each thing I have attempted to achieve, I have spread myself thin, and gone from room to room, speaking to each individual who might maybe be able to tell me what I need to know. No one sits me down and asks me, What do you want to do?
I’m left to my own devices and make do with what I find.
Ravenous desperation has done the rest of the damage.
I have picked the things that look like they would make me happy rather than those that would check the right little box, because I don’t want to do things because someone told me to, when I could do something that will change my world. Every scheduling conflict and external demand that has disrupted my intellectual gluttony has destroyed entire years of schooling.
There is bitterness, year by year, for the things that had to be sacrificed in the name of progress, in the name of requirement, in the name of bigger and better things.
It would be nice, if, now and again, people took me on faith. If they, those people whose time and energy and opinion I value, would put aside their worldly knowledge for the span of time it takes to ask me a question, or even let out a thoughtful hum, rather than instantly telling me that I must be doing something wrong.
Right now, charity is hard to come by. Bitterness is all too accessible, and the weight of the expectations of past and future is heavy on all our shoulders. I’m trying to be open. I’m trying to be kind. But systems are always an uphill battle, and resentment will always be my weakness.