I’m writing this on Tuesday evening, and its raining. Or, rather, it just finished raining. Karen is teaching, and the apartment is quiet. Our end of the apartment complex is heavily populated by local college students. Some of them decided to make a run for the nearby pool for a quick swim between the rains, and, judging from their yells and laughter (there’s one girl whose voice carries a long way), they’re having a blast.
I took a break from reading and wandered over to the window to look down at the parking lot, and noticed this guy who had obviously just returned from his workday. He was sort of trudging the path from his car to the buildings, pulling a rolling briefcase behind him…you know, the kind that remind you of a carry-on bag that you would take on a flight with you. He was in a suit, but his tie was untied and dangling on either side of him, about even with the lapels of his jacket. Off-the-cuff, I’d say he’s in sales. Whatever he does, he had just gotten home at 6:30, and looked exhausted. He was a notable counterpoint to the co-ed, carefree laughter coming from the swimming pool.
I was struck by the thought I’ve often had in the last few years: is that what we go to school for? We spend four years (some of us did the five-year plan) for a college degree, living a great life of free inquiry, exploration, and learning, soaking up all that life has to offer and thriving on it. Our reward is a credential that permits us to enter the workforce with a much-coveted job, from which we return at 6:30, dragging our bag behind us with our ties untied, and looking like we’re already prepared to crawl into bed. Then, we get the privilege of doing it all again tomorrow. Except, then, maybe we’ll get to come home at 7:00 or 8:00.
No wonder they told me that college would be the best years of my life.
I’ve done my time in the 9 to 5 world, and found it wanting. I exerienced freedom again during my graduate studies, and have scrambled to retain it ever since. I think I’m getting close, but I wonder if that’s part of what motivates me to pursue yet another degree, and potentially a life of scholarship. I know that, if it is, its not the only reason…I really see it as one of the few ways that my eccentric little brain can be productive in society. I know that it plays a role, however. My friend, Renee, told me once that she knew long ago that a 9 to 5 wasn’t the life she wanted to live, and took steps early in life to find ways around it. I’m realizing it now, and taking steps of my own. Scholarship might be one of those avenues.
And, if so, then this is me being motivated. I can’t wait to hit the books.