...dear LJ, I am already a paid member on auto-payment, why are you advertising to me about a free two-week trial of LJ paid? ♥ c__c, member since 2003...
And onto my meeting:
- He was late, which was relieving. Let me into the room and whinged about all the new people on campus loading themselves onto coaches and generally strolling around. Admired his whinging skills ("Honestly, come break we get rid of you lot and now we've got coaches! I suppose I shouldn't complain, since they help fund us...but I will anyway").
- Just a few corrections and suggestions on my draft. He let me keep the papers and all so I can get through reading all of them before summer term, just out of interest. (I guess he knows he's landed a geek.)
- He was really intent on dangling the PhD in front of me. He mentioned not giving this project to next year's students so he could really read and think about what Claire and I give in. Then he mentioned PhD and future projects again.
- He asked where I was going after uni and I reported heading home to the States (and how much I dread the packing/shipping). He inquired if I was 'done' with England, almost sadly. I replied that regrettably, yes I am - it's ridiculously expensive and I miss Stateside living. He asked what I was doing after university. I told him I hated to admit it, but something with less brain power that wouldn't drive me into the ground like this, perhaps further education in the future; I hated to see the flash of surprise and disappointment on his face in the less-than-a-second before it was controlled. I hate hate hate seeing that, always, and I've been seeing it rather often with this last year. He mentioned my potential for a PhD, working in the sociology of science the way much of my project has. I shivered at the thought. He seemed so intent; I felt a little ill. I always feel as though I'm not living up to my potential.
- He asked me if I really understood that I had potential with this and skills in this area. I told him I don't now, but hope to in the future. He seemed saddened by the thought of having a student with little self-esteem regarding academic skills. He told me he thought it was important for students leaving university to understand what they were good at, where there skills lay - he told me I excelled at analysing what people were doing, why they were doing it, organising the results and articulating them. I tried to take it in. I think it will be tricky, as a large part of me still views myself as a suburban American farmer student who only does well in school because her leg stopped working on her.
- Discussed my exam schedule and how I'm displeased with it. He laughed and remarked, "Well, I won't say it all, but...it'll be okay." I smiled to know that he understood 'saying it all' doesn't always work with neurotic students like I am.
- Told him it was Claire's birthday, and should I send along some birthday wishes from him? He very enthusiastically agreed. We laughed and parted ways.
Not too painful, then, at least regarding my actual dissertation. Just pained my regular old fears of not living up to others' expectations.
I allowed myself a few tears on Friendship Bridge while watching the ducks. I thought about how once people expected I would be an actress ("you have a rubber face!") or a writer ("that story simply got to me!") or a minister ("your sermon was fantastic! Such a well-spoken young woman!"). Over the years it evolved into 'academic', projecting a path of yellow-bricked academic roads and "Doctor St-----". I created my own path to fit the expectations (vocational high school instead of academic high school; English university instead of American) but I can't help the feeling that I am done for a while. I can't take it any more. I still want to learn, oh endlessly do I want to learn! Institutionalised learning...not so much. I need a break. I don't want to jump right into a 'career' with a promotional ladder, either.
I've given up a lot of living to stay on this path to the standard I deem appropriate for myself. I want to go do some living, make some mistakes, learn a new way. Somehow knowing that doesn't make the pain any less when I see the surprised-and-disappointed microexpression flash over features I've come to respect at levels beyond what I should probably offer. I don't want to disappoint anyone. I just don't want to do this any more. I can't see myself as cut out for someone with Doctor as a prefix. Still, just a few tears on the bridge and I felt better.
I walked and thought about what I had set out to gain from university. I realised that I wanted to get "science glasses" to add to my collection - a perspective or point of view that I could slip on when viewing thins. "Literary" or "writer's glasses" always came pretty naturally to me with my imagination and tendency toward observation. I love being able to look at the same pond filled with birds and plants with my "writer's glasses" as metaphors and an array of details that make up the setting followed by my "science glasses" that identify birds and plants in an umbrella of taxonomy and consider the animal behaviour behind each bob of a feathered head. I love feeling them merge behind my eyes, toying around in my brain to create a unique perspective of lay science. I feel my time at university has developed my "science glasses" to the point that I am pleased with them.
It reminded me that I need to leave this experience with a sense of accomplishment, as I did accomplish what I set out to, and not allow that to be diminished by the fact that I may not have trekked as far down the path as some would have liked.
I'm going to miss Nick and miss teachers. I can't imagine a life without teachers. I mean, I know there will be teachers around me - I have many teachers within many of my communities of friends and support - but not having my own personal teachers (not that I own them) will be odd. Since I was 3 I have always had an answer to, "Who is your teacher?" Suddenly I won't have one. "Who is your teacher?" "Myself. My job. My friends. My community. The universe. Children. Age. My breath." No "Ms. Watson" or "Mr. Dufault" or "Mrs. Cavanagh" or "Nick" or "that crazy Mark Fellowes". So strange. I suppose it's just another one of those things I'll get used to.
Ah, well, more rambles form me. You all are saints for putting up with it!♥
Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.