Friday, December 18, 2009

not quite education, only books I didn't read

So, tomorrow is the day. Piled head deep. DONE. 11+ years in the making, my post high school academic career is about to end. Anti-climactic is an understatement. Put in the words of one of my friends finishing her undergrad, I'm still "looking for a little dénouement." I don't have the heart to spread the word, but there is no such thing, at least from what I've seen so far. Such is the stuff of books and movies, where the plot has to end for the sake of keeping the book under 500 pages or the movie under 3 hours. Our lives follow no such timeline. In the lyrics of RCPM "I ain't never seen the end to no story, 'cause no story never ends."

I remember finishing my MS thesis. "This is it," I told myself. You work for something so hard for so long, and it's all you see, all you think about, and all you stress over. Then it is suddenly over. I moved on to the professional world. You make a huge push for a new proposal. You get the job, and have to do all of that work. For me, that means long stints in the field; some fun, some not so fun. Get back to the office and park yourself in front of your computer. You push again to process, analyze, and interpret. What happens when you finish one project report? You move on to the next proposal, field work, and report. Repeat until you retire, get fired, or die. That's my cynical synopsis for the day anyway...

I obviously find huge analogies in triathlon/running/etc. You work so hard for one goal. One event, one PR, or whatever it happens to be for you. Then you race. After that, guess what? It's OVER. What do you do? You either quit or set a new goal for a PR, distance, etc. Train, race, repeat. Sometimes you reach your goals, sometimes you don't. What happens when you don't? Is your effort unjustified? I don't think so. Every effort, every time you push yourself, you make an attempt to find what you're made of. In the process, you change. Your views of yourself, your limits, the world...they change. And to me that makes it worth it, whether you pass or fail.

In this case I passed. Hooray, let's celebrate for a day. On Sunday, back to simultaneous proposals, analysis, and reports. On Monday, back to training. Life moves forward whether we're ready or not.