Shaking Off the Cobwebs

In a couple of ways. First off, I haven’t posted since summer for lack of time and brain particles I allowed myself to devote to writing. And then there’s the reason I’m writing this post now.

It is tragically easy to become jaded while in school. Even in grad school when, ideally, you choose more school because you actually want to learn more about a certain subject, that drive can wear off real soon. As you can probably guess, I am in that stage presently. The first days coming back to school after a year off started off giddy as a preteen (or most 20-somethings) waiting in line for a One Direction concert. I was rusty to be sure (note-taking became a lost art), but so eager to get in the swing of things again and just learn.  Public Health, Global Health, I wanted to learn how to make the world a better place already and specifically why issues developed in the first place so as to prevent them from happening again. I tried my best to complete all the required readings for every class because I had to, you know, know all this stuff.

Of course, that lasted about a month until assignments existed. As with 97% of the school-attending population of all ages, I dropped that diligence in order to triage homeworks, projects and exams (*shudder*). Moreover, I felt like something should be happening by now…research with a professor, field project, I couldn’t quite define what that something was, just that moves should be being made…right? Every day was just about getting from one class to the next, whether I was fully engaged or not, and making it from one assignment to the next. It became cruise control at 40 mph. Most of my classmates relate, with posts on Facebook that everyone resonates with a collective sigh of agreement. My roommates and I constantly groan about the absurdity of our schedule and what this experimental program pushes out of us.

But today, one of my roommates shook me awake again. It was small and it probably wasn’t the first time she acted like this. While we were sitting at our kitchen table and I was sinking into despair over our upcoming exam, she interrupted some story I was telling with a sudden “omg!” at her laptop screen. “Sorry,” she said. “I just got really excited over our topic for GD3P tomorrow. Neoliberalism and its effects on global health.” Admittedly I don’t remember what neoliberalism means… “I was going to choose to do my thesis at Hopkins. It’s what I came to learn about.”

That enthusiasm. I used to have that when I came to New York (way to sound like an old geezer, me). She was getting excited over the recommended readings (not even the required ones!). “There are like 20, but they sound so interesting! I saved ’em but I don’t know if I’ll get around to them.” Yeah. She saved the recommended readings. Like I said, this isn’t the first time she’s gotten hyped over subject material, but for some reason, this sparked me in the way someone does when they touch you after shuffling their feet on the carpet.

It woke me up to realize that there is a reason I moved to New York and paying so much money to spend hours in classrooms only to come home to more hours of work. I can’t afford to waste time on sliding just above the bare minimum. I can’t promise I’ll be those super-students I admire from afar, but I will take the time to explore outside the requirements to form and strengthen some kind of personal perspective; read more, read elsewhere, listen more and listen elsewhere. These sparks tend to be ephemeral, but I’ll ride this one as long as it lasts.

I go to a top-ranking graduate school so that I can try to fix some of the infinite kinks in the world, and it’s time I remember that.

Update: as of this post I’ve actually been reading one of the required pieces for tomorrow. Progress!