No one is forcing me to be in graduate school. This is something I decided I wanted to do, something I thought I'd be good at. And I guess I am pretty good at it. And, despite all the stress and complaining, I kind of like it, too. Stimulating discussions, good friends, encouraging mentors, even writing papers--I generally enjoy all of the above.
Lately I have been thinking about my first year of grad school, and have come to the conclusion that really, I've learned more about myself this year than I have about philosophy. (Ok, I've learned a lot about philosophy, too, and it was a pretty steep learning curve.) My experience has been more about the non-school learning, perhaps as a result of the overwhelming nature of the school learning! I've learned about procrastination (yup, this is it), self-discipline, friendships, loving myself, being alone, taking responsibility for myself (and not others), and how rewarding it is to complete seemingly impossible tasks. And yes, I have also done some book learnin': about religion and public policy, reformational philosophy, pluralism (theological and societal), the ecological crisis we're in, and even a little about art.
Perhaps I was motivated to write this post because I am in the middle of a huge crunch time and I need to convince myself that this is where I am supposed to be right now. I need to revise one final research paper and finish (about 10 more pages) of another before Monday, because I'm leaving on Tuesday for a conference in Calgary, and am then on to visit my sister and her family in Vancouver. I also need to do laundry, rearrange my apartment to make room for a summer roommate, and a number of other odds and ends before I leave.
But if this year has taught me anything, it's that these things will get done. Somehow. And that gives me hope. Ultimately, I am certainly not in control. Of course I have to work hard and be responsible with these opportunities, and I will face challenges; but in the grand scheme of things, I am not in control.