Today’s Daily Prompt: “Another school semester will soon begin. If you’re in school, are you looking forward to starting classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?”
I can’t wait for classes to start.
I’m serious. This is my final year of undergrad, and I’ve already finished the actual coursework for both my majors, so the only “serious” academic stuff I’m doing this year is thesis work. Now, granted, I’m writing two honors thesis projects, so that’s kind of a lot, but still, it’s only two classes per semester. I actually had to go searching for random irrelevant classes to put in my schedule just so that I would have enough credits to stay in university housing (which is kind of necessary for my job as a Resident Assistant).
Typically, I’m not the kind of guy who takes random classes for the hell of it, which is how I finished two majors in three years. A semester is a long time, and that is a big commitment! Yes, I know there are websites like RateMyProfesssor and all that so that you can get an idea of what you are getting into, and I know you can find folks who have taken the class before, too, but…I don’t think you can ever really know for sure what a class will be like for you until a few weeks after the semester starts. At which point, of course, it’s probably too late to drop it if you hate it, and certainly too late to get in to anything meaningfully better to replace it. As a result, I’m very selective about what I take. Or, at least, I have been so far.
This year, however, I have a new plan. Not only am I filling out my schedule with irrelevant coursework and music lessons, but I’m taking the search for random, useless classes to the next level: I want to sit in on a single session of a different random class every week this year. I have a lot of unclaimed time in my schedule right now, and while almost all of it will go towards additional thesis work, that’s not incompatible with this plan. After all, if the class isn’t interesting, I can just work on my thesis stuff to pass the time while I wait for it to end. (Having been born in Oxford, and as the son of two professors of English, I obviously can’t just leave.) But on those days when I stumble across a class that I do find interesting, it will be like a breath of fresh air, broadening my horizons in all sorts of unexpected ways. Who knows? I may discover a previously latent passion and find myself completely transfigured by the experience.
I am so grateful that I was able to come to my top choice university, and I have intensely loved the education I’ve had so far here. I knew what I wanted to study, and I came here ready to do precisely that. However, looking back, I think that a couple of totally random, irrelevant, and useless classes would have done me a lot of good. I have a tendency towards extremes, and while I’m very much a “big picture” kind of guy, once I get really focused on something, I do not stop. There is a danger that I will lose all sense of perspective in my quest to understand my new obsession “all the way down.” But a steady, regular dose of uncontrollable randomness is a superb antidote to fanaticism.
And, of course, I live and work with first-year college students. Even if I were heading into a dreary year of utterly predictable and entirely uninteresting coursework, it’s pretty hard to surround yourself with hundreds of incoming freshmen and not get excited about the start of term. Because if you think I’m way too happy about school starting up again…just imagine how they feel.