Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Liveblogging an Existential Crisis

You might have noticed that I failed to post on Friday, mainly due to the fact that I didn't have time. And now I'm posting late today, mainly because I've spent the day doing nothing but feeling overly worried about my sore throat and wondering how many times I can wish for Thanksgiving to get here before I go mad. Yes, I realize that I intended to write about my love for Halloween, but that's pretty straightforward. I could talk about why, but right now my thoughts are so set on time off from classes and the need for a smorgasbord of food that I feel the whole post would come out hollow and insincere.

Here's the deal: I'm having existential crisis part nine and three quarters (but really). Compared to the onslaught of crises I had this summer and earlier this fall, this one is both easier to deal with and far, far worse. There are three things I've realized:

1) I cannot, under any circumstances, stay at the school I'm attending: I'm not challenged, I'm not motivated, and I'm not comfortable with the school's treatment of its students. After this quarter, I will not be going back.

2) I may not want to be a paralegal: I have a meeting with Hamline University, a school in St. Paul, next Tuesday to discuss both their paralegal and their law program. Over the last two weeks, I realized that Globe was not the right school for me and began wondering if perhaps I should consider law school instead, thinking that I might like international law, working in an embassy or for a humanitarian organization. But then the third realization came.

*gross sobbing* I miss you, UMN.
3) Sweet Jesus do I miss the humanities: I tried to get away from them. I thought after four years at the U and being exhausted from writing papers and doing all kinds of cultural criticism for weeks and weeks and weeks that I was ready to do something else. I was wrong. I find myself missing those long readings and class discussions and being utterly perplexed by various theories. Hell, I even miss the U. I walked through campus today to get to a FedEx Office to return a shipment I'd gotten and I wanted to cry, I missed the atmosphere of it so much. I realized the other night that really the only thing I want to do is read books and dissertations and write essays and drink lattes and discuss the weirdness of the world with people. Though Globe isn't the right place for me, I do enjoy the conversations I've had with people and it reminded me I want more of that, in a place where I can do and be my best. I'm not ruling out law yet - I do have an interest there - but I'm no longer sure it's where my heart lies. I'll go in and talk with the people at Hamline, but I'm already pretty sure I know the answer of what I do. Yes, there are no jobs in the humanities. Yes, if I major in English or Comparative Literature or Critical Studies, the job outlook isn't spectacular. But no job has complete security and life is too short to not do something that makes me happy. Learning really makes me happy and while academia is far from perfect, I can deal with the flaws. I would love nothing more than to write about literature and discuss Shakespeare with undergrads and I can't deny that I really felt at home in academia. I know that now.

But I didn't before. Things have taken on a different scope, now that I've been out of school and realized all the possibilities I have. I could do anything, I know this, but I want to do something that inspires me. I felt the most inspired going to my Cultural Studies and English classes, as well as working at the Guthrie and if I continue on a path like that, I'd feel pretty good about my choices. I have a lot regrets and I don't want to miss out on doing something I really love. Considering I can't walk across the river without looking at the Guthrie and missing it, I known now that something needs to change. And soon.

A lot has changed already since I graduated from the U six months ago (God, I can't believe it's been six months). I'm less scared than I was before of the future, of getting a job, of knowing when I'm right or wrong. I know when I'm wrong; I just struggle to know when I'm right. But I'm getting better at it. I can clearly see what I'm doing now is wrong and it's caused me to make mistakes elsewhere. But since I've made those mistakes - well, I feel like everything is clearer. I'll un-enroll from Globe, spend the winter working, writing, researching schools (and going to London!). I likely won't be going anywhere until the fall of 2015. But that's okay. I've been in such a hurry to get on with my life that I forgot that I'm living now. My life has literally been the song "Vienna" that I posted a couple weeks ago. It feels like I've just woken up and realized that. And so, I just need to take a deep breath, relax, and realize things will come in time. Right now, I'm just going to work on getting through school and enjoying the fact that, for once, I have a NANOWRIMO project that might just work.

Writing all of this seems highly tangential, irrelevant, and personal, but things might be kind of weird around here, so this is partially a heads-up. I mean, things are always weird here but they're bound to get weirder. Hang in there, I promise I'll get back to fandom things. Until then, enjoy the song that I'm going to be singing to myself every day until winter break comes:


  1. Snap! Postgrad uni problems ftw. Mine are slightly different than yours of course, you mention missing the atmosphere you had when at uni, I long to experience that. It's part of why I decided to do further study in the first place, but doing it part time means I'm never ever in classes and so I don't know anyone at uni, at all. So I can't discuss the things I'm doing with anyone :/.

    I think it's great that you've decided to change what you're doing though. So many people think "this isn't really working for me, but I'm doing it now so I might as well stick to it". And yeah, it's ok not knowing what you want to do right now. My dad constantly tells me that he still doesn't know what he wants to do and he's in his sixties. Spending a few months doing things that interest you and researching the future is something I think everyone should do at some point. Relax and take a little of the pressure off. You've got time, things will all work out in the end. You never know, you might decide to do something crazy like go to school outside your home country (That's what I'd like to do for a PhD. If only going UK -> USA wasn't so expensive for students. It's never going to happen :/). You could be completely wild and do something like an MA in Shakespeare Studies! (I have no idea what one DOES with an MA in Shakespeare Studies, I just know that my uni along with one or two others in the UK offers it, and according to an article in the Guardian you can "absolutely" get a job afterwards :P), or not to go back to school at all and do something else. You may get spotted in an open casting call for the next Star Wars movie and end up on a red carpet premiere where you meet you favourite youngish actor and end up in a whirlwind romance that people will talk about for eons to come and...


    So I may have been daydreaming a lot recently >_>'.

    What's your NaNo username btw? :)

    1. Oh no; I hope you get to experience that atmosphere soon! I didn't really have it until my senior year in undergrad and I don't think I really appreciated it until now. And thank you for your support - I really appreciate it! It feels a bit like you've been looking at my notes for grad school research - Shakespeare Studies is exactly what I was considering! I hope you can study in the US as well - maybe we should swap places :) And you certainly aren't the only one whose been daydreaming a lot... :D

      My NaNo username is Culture Vulture; if you find me out there I'll happily follow back!

  2. Can I just say Gina, this post resonates so much with me. Although I am younger than you (aged 19) and it is the start of my sophomore year at college (Drexel U studying Chemical Engineering), I feel very lost, ambivalent, exhausted, pressured, and just...floaty (if that's a word) and unimportant. a-name-girl also stated something that I actually think I always go back to every time I think about changing my major or college: If I'm doing it now, why can't or shouldn't I continue? Maybe I'm a masochist? Maybe I'm depressed? I don't know. Actually... yeah, I don't know. [Side note: As you can see, I'm constantly saying ‘maybe’ and 'I think [this] but I don't know'. I seek your wisdom! Please teach us how you know when you're right and when you're wrong!] I think I need to follow a-name-girl’s advice and just live my life a little so that I can learn more about myself and my interests. But I can’t convince myself that that’s important or necessary. Why can’t I just go on with what I’m doing…? At the moment, I’m on the same boat as you: just can’t wait for Thanksgiving and winter break.
    I know you're not a psychology major and are not interested in other people's problems, but I needed to vent, I guess, and get that out there.
    I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate posts like these. They give me some reassurance and make me feel less alone. That's not to say that I'm happy for your troubles; they give me some sort of connection, a bit of encouragement, and ideas about how you are learning more about yourself and about how to tackle identity/existential/other crises. So thank you. And the cherry on top was "This Year"; that song got me through the last few weeks of my spring term of freshmen year. Maybe I need to listen to it more and get through “this year” for the next 2.75 years…
    On a lighter note: I’m very excited for you about London! Just around the corner! Keep us updated when you're there (if you have time, of course)! And I think you would make such a great English or cultural studies professor, especially with your enthusiasm! Enthusiasm rubs off on to students, in my humble opinion. I would love to hear what you end up deciding and why.

    1. Hello dear anon!

      Though I don't mention it here, I actually did major in psychology, as well as cultural studies (though the latter was certainly more of my focus), and even if I wasn't a psych student, I am still strangely intersted in other people's problems (hopefully in a caring way, not nosy and intrusive). I really hope things go well for you and you feel less pressured and lost. I can't say for sure how I've become more certain about things - I've always been quite a bit of a doubting Thomas and questioning myself all the time. But here recently I've begun to do it less. I believe I started noticing my thought patterns more and realized what feels like a good choice, even if other people criticize it. It's tough and it's scary, and I still use words like "maybe" and "I think" and "I don't know" a lot, but I'm beginning to catch myself at it and be more self-assured. I can't always change what I'm saying, but at least I'm aware of it, which is an importanant step.

      I guess the advice I would give is this: I was once told (way back in the days when I thought I wanted to be a professional musician) that the idea of "if you can see yourself doing something other than music/writing/law/dentristry here, do it. Do [selected career percieved as less viable] only if you can't see yourself doing anything else" was wrong. It was misleading. Of course you could see yourself doing any number of things - but if you COULD see yourself doing music/law/writing/dentristry/etc and enjoying it, then that was what mattered. I haven't always kept it in mind enough, but I always go back to that. Sure, I can see myself being a paralegal - but will my heart really be in it? At the end of the day, will I be really satisfied with what I'm doing? Will it make me happy? Sometimes it's difficult to consider, and even more difficult to know, but I hope that maybe this further helps you out.

      I am so humbled and appreciative that you found some solace from this post, and it's comments like these that make me feel less alone as well, so thank you so much for this. And yes, London - all the excitement! I'll be there from January 17th to the 27th. And I will certainly be talking my head off about the trip the closer the departure dates get. :)