the quad at NUI Galway

the quad at NUI Galway

Jon and I joke around often that we are currently in our junior/senior year of Life. For most of the last 25 years of our lives, we’ve been in school and have used the institution of school to make sense of ourselves and how we fit into the world.

My first year after Northwestern, the first time in a long time that I was no longer a student, was liberating and scary at the same time. No longer any institution looking over my shoulder, no longer any graded assessment, no longer a map of what comes next. I worried at the time that I would never get over my time at Northwestern; that my whole life would be a constant reflection back to my undergraduate days. Luckily, I found out that that wasn’t the case, and I happily proceeded to live a life without Northwestern at its center.

After a year at the Interfaith Youth Core, and a year in Uganda, I was happily a “real person” in the “real world” who had a sense of balance, if not direction.

And then, I became a student again. This year, like the majority of years of my life, school is at the center. However, I’ve been surprised at how much my two years out of school have influenced me. First of all, my desire for balance is pretty high, much higher than it ever was in college. Secondly, I find myself to be much more serious about getting work and reading done. I really value the chance to spend time on academic reading and to think critically again.  And thirdly, I find myself much less adept at actually getting my work and reading done. My time out of school has made me a slower reader and a MUCH slower writer. Thankfully, I really enjoy the material that I get to read about, write about, and discuss in class with my peers. Otherwise, I’d really be struggling!

So, it is with frustration and procrastination that I write this blog on a chilly Thursday morning. I’m sure after a couple more months practice, I will remember how it is I managed student life for all those years. I’ll let you know when I figure it out!