– November 15th, 2013 by Shannon Hutchins –

Impending ecstasy or depression?

This past week I woke up and for the eighth and final time, at what felt like the crack of dawn because lets be real as a college student 7 a.m. does feel like the crack of dawn, and I registered for my final semester of college.

The registration itself passed by without much incidence or fanfare but pooling in the bottom of my stomach wasn’t excitement or jubilation which was what I had always assumed would be waiting for me as I cross off a bunch of “lasts” off of my college career. Picking out classes, meeting with my advisors, and talking up different classes with different teachers seemed more mundane than normal; it all seemed like a necessity as opposed to a new opportunity.

As someone who has always looked forward to school, and classes, and papers I have found myself sitting in classes bored with more alarming regularity lately. I have found myself steadily disinterested in the world around me, in my peers around me, and surprisingly even the work around me. Now that is not to say that I have neglected my studies or become completely apathetic to the point where nothing ever gets done or turned in, in fact it has been quite the opposite I have gotten things checked off in time and I am pulling the pretty normal “A” grades. And yet I feel nothing.

There is no thrill of getting that paper back, no passion in studying or writing.  As someone who has draped herself in the sanctuary of academia for the first time in my academic life I am scared. Scared is not an emotion that I have associated with academia since I was in the third grade and had to take timed multiplication tests; on the contrary I am usually calm and one to jump into a task with my eyes fully open. In academia that is.

Academia has been my safe haven from sisterly fights and skirmishes, and more recently it provided an outlet to get away from parental fights. School has always been the one place where no one could judge me because I feel as though this is the one place where I may just be a bit faster on the uptake than my peers. So, feeling this lackadaisical attitude, towards something that has been my rock solid haven for years, has left me a bit bereft.

It is scary to think that in May I will graduate with my BA. I feel wholly under-prepared and at the same time I feel like the walls of academia are threatening to suffocate me. And that scares me. School has always been mine; been something that I could excel at and enjoy and the sudden distaste and bitter feeling it is starting to leave saddens me. Because I don’t know how to be me without using school as a defining barometer or measuring stick. Because some people define themselves by their creativity, talents, medals, and awards but I define myself by my grades. I define myself based off of a grade on a paper, test, or piece of paper and what am I going to do when the tests of life aren’t based on consuming and regurgitating information for others; how am I supposed to evaluate myself when I am the one grading myself, grading my efforts, and when I am the one who has to dole out the critique?

Because the truth is academia, for me, has been my safe haven and my rock and to feel that security blanket (that okay maybe I have outgrown) is scary and what happens when I get out in the real world and I realize this was all for naught and I get into a situation in which I hate?



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