24 April 2007

Soylent Green, Graduate School and Other Absurdities

Tuesday is a long day for me. I leave the house around 8 am (this morning I left to the girls being totally silly, Freya-sans-pants and Matilda in her nightgown singing songs about how I didn't really have to go to school and was going to stay with them all day) and I don't get home until 10 pm.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my vacation from the rest of my life. I love my girls of course, but during the long winter days (and even, now, the muddy spring days), when I am trying to get work done and they are playing trap-the-mermaid-in-the-cave, or games in which they are princesses battling evil bad guys (always anonymous, and never bad girls) it is a relief when Tuesday rolls around and I can escape for a day of fun Using My Brain time.

Tuesdays are long because after the 2 pm Metafiction class that I assistant teach, I hang around doing God knows what until my creative writing workshop at 6:30. I love the kids in my writing workshop. l-o-v-e: love. I don't know if it's because the class comes at the end of a long day, or if we're all just a bunch of freaks that ended up together by chance or fate or what, but we have the most fun. We are always making dumb jokes, usually about random stuff, sometimes about each other's work, and everyone is always a good sport and we are never mean. Tonight I was especially proud to be one of them (I am at least seven years older than most of the students at MCLA, so this one-of-them feeling is rarer than it sounds) when one kid mentioned the 1973 science fiction movie Soylent Green and more than half of the class got the reference. I know this makes me a huge geek, but being a geek among geeks is a beautiful feeling.

I'm really going to miss them after our last class together next week. I thought about asking people for emails or something, but the idea seemed so High School that I just couldn't. I mean, as much as we enjoy a sense of camaraderie while we discuss each other's work, I am not really a part of the on-campus world that most of them live in. This is okay. I can make my own way, leave them all to do their thing and then, someday, 20 years from now, Google them when I'm bored at work. I'm cool with that.

I think I'm feeling a little panicky/nostalgic because even though the semester (and with it my undergraduate years - all 10 of them) won't be over until next week, I finished all of my big projects yesterday. Without schoolwork to obsess over, what will I do all day? Work on my real writing? For me? Ha!

It's not exactly the Traditional College Experience, but I have spent the last two years as a full-time college student, it has become a part of how I see myself, who I am: Nell McCabe, college student and mother of two; it's like a badge of honor. (Gasp, how do you do it, a full time mom and a full time student?) I'm bracing myself for the shift. I have until May 12, and then I have to stop living the dream and start my Things I Must Accomplish After Graduation In Order To Get Into Grad School list.

It goes like this:
1. Read every book ever written in the English language.
2. Learn Latin AND Italian.
3. Look at an actual study guide for the GRE and score at least 700 on the verbal half of the test.
4. Get published, preferably somewhere respectable.
5. Work for pay.
Yeah, so, you can see why I'd rather just take the easy way out and spend another five years working on my undergraduate degree, right? It's that last one that does it. Maybe I should change my major to something I know nothing about, like chemistry.


Annika said...

Well, at least Latin and Italian are practically the same thing. And once you know them you'll also know Spanish and Portuguese. I mean, basically.

What do I know? I can barely speak English.

Andrea said...

Remember before when i was being really supportive and telling you that you could take on the "The Book List" in a year? well, that was before Tim told me that the first like seven were epic poems. I know you can do it, but i had no idea what i was talking about and you are truly an amazement to me. Let me know when you start, i'd like to bring you baked goods often.