Thursday, April 19, 2007

Spoons heat up when you bend them, until they break.

For those of you who don't know, I am a French and Spanish major, about to graduate from college. That presumes that I pass my comprehensive exams for both majors of course, each requiring a ten-page paper about the respective literatures of those languages, only one of which have I even started writing.

I've been working on the paper for my Spanish comps for well over a month. I've written about two pages of it, and none of it is exceptionally good. I haven't even figured out what to write in French yet; the only reason I have a topic in Spanish is because my adviser proposed one when the topic I had chosen (a fairly complicated literary analysis that I wouldn't have been able to handle) was something nobody at my school would be competent to evaluate, even assuming I could produce something sensible.

The thing is, none of it interests me in the least.

So I ask myself, why do I do it?

The short answer is that I want my bachelor's degree. I need it to go on to the next step: teaching English in France next year, maybe in Japan after that, or even if not, eventually going on to grad school... where I can study more crap that probably won't interest me.

I learned when I was in high school that I was good at learning and using languages... at least to the extent that I picked up French, Spanish, and a little bit of Esperanto without much difficulty. The problem is, I've never really known what to do with this gift. I continue studying literature at Nazareth because I don't have any other ideas, and because I can't really afford to change schools... not that there would be any point in changing schools just a few months before graduation.

So, what do I really need a bachelor's degree for, other than to avoid the mountain of debt that will materialize when I suddenly have to pay back all my scholarships when I drop out of school a month and a half before graduation? Because I don't have any real skills, other than learning languages, and I like to think I'll be able to get a job that allows me to move out of my parents' house someday. So, basically, I'm doing it out of a sense of obligation. I feel like I'm just following the beaten path because I don't know how to blaze my own trail.

[Update: Both of these papers have been finished and turned in, but I preserved the above text, because the underlying question of what it's all good for remains unanswered.]

Even if the topic of my final papers did interest me, though, it's hard to concentrate when I have so much else on my mind.

This was the post that I'd been working on since this time last month. I actually had this much written, but much more to say. The rest follows in a separate post, since the rest turned out to be quite long and upstaged this vein of thought.

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