That Typical, Understandable, EveryOne-Gets-One, Existential Crisis
So it’s happened. I’m a junior in college and my existential crisis has finally occurred. I’m pretty sure every college student, at some point in their career of keggers and classes, has had some kind of break down where they freak about adulthood. Whether it be at the start of freshman year because they came in as an undeclared major only to have friends who have all their shit figured out, or they’re a senior on graduation day and they realize that they all of a sudden don’t want to be a bio-engineer the rest of their life.
Either way, this happens to most and I know that it’s really nothing new, so why bother sharing it? I think it’s important for people to note when these things happen to them and by people I mean the universities.
Chances are, existential crises happen because of workload, a class that was supposed to be perfect turns out it sucks, a teacher that has let someone down, or other forms of dreams being crushed.
This is the case for me.
I have known for a while that being a writer is what I want to do with all my time. This definitely includes hair-pulling and intense writer’s block where I start a completely new story that has nothing to do with other one and work on that until it’s 2/3 complete, get writer’s block, and start another book. But it’s what I want to do, hey I don’t try to understand why psychologists want to sit and listen to people whine (shoutout to my recent therapist, Grace, for sitting there and listening to me whine), but I could not do that. That being said, those people with aspirations for actual jobs are going to get paid actual money and money is something I will need at some point when my dad decides to stop funding my every demand.
So I needed a plan that had some form of a dependent cash flow attached to it: such as teaching. I love English, and literature, and it involves creative writing sometimes, and I’ve had some pretty substantial English teachers that I owe many thanks to for sending me in the direction of becoming a literature major. This idea lead me to enroll myself in an education program here at school and for the past two years, I’ve been settling.
The classes themselves are interesting enough, I suppose. Most of the time, it is all theory and I have no idea what we’re talking about because I’m a freshman/sophomore/now junior in college and I generally have no idea what’s going on. But bring in this semester and the one Dual Degree in Teacher Preparation class I am taking: Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice.
What I have discovered here, in one of the most diverse cities in the states, is that we boast our diversity and push it onto other people. Mostly in education, we prove that other states and cities are doing it worse than us, and yet we still have some pretty poor schools in our “glorified” city. That being said, I already know not to forget about the minority students that will inevitably find themselves forced to read Shakespeare in my classroom, but this program and these classes has made me believe that that is just simply not enough. I need to know Spanish and ebonics because how else am I going to communicate? Every lesson has to have an adaptation for those that struggle with reading, writing, understanding, thinking, sitting, standing, breathing, talking, etc. etc. etc. I will be condemned to a theoretical hell if I don’t do all of these things. I have also seen some of my beliefs be crushed. Such as:
- academic english is wrong
- the white student is wrong and privileged
- can’t have food in the classroom
- this will be fun
Currently sitting in class right now is like sitting in some kind of hell I believe. We had a substitute teacher come in for a short while and answer questions we’re too embarrassed to ask our real professor.
As he was speaking, his words were pure magic glitter floating through the air and changing the way everyone sees how schools “school.” This professor is basically the face of my program and makes everyone want to go help these urban city kids learn. Except me.
Move to another scenario where I meet a friend of a friend on the bus. Sitting next to my friend A, who is in the Dual Degree program with me, I look her in the eye and I say “oh I want to leave the program, by the way.” Jokingly freaking out, we discuss it a little before her friend interjects loudly, saying something along the lines of “I can’t believe you would ever think about dropping the program; I wish that I had joined while I still had a chance; don’t you want your masters?; all those graduate classes would be for nothing!” and more. Well I certainly glared at her, and no I don’t even know this chick, and said that those graduate classes that pulled me through the River Styx would be in my mind and heart forever, they don’t just go away. That shut her up.
Fast forward now to another encounter with a professor, this time one that I deeply trust and uphold because he is in fact my Dual Degree advisor. I met with him and per usual the man was ambiguous. He loves to give answers that span fifteen sentences and never really answer the question came in for, leaving you with a slight sense of “what the fuck just happened,” but a better understanding of his younger years. Well, he didn’t completely shut down my idea/ dreams of dropping the program and moving on with my life`, although it is his job to do so. He just advised that having multiple doors open is a better idea than trying to close one and open another.
So my problem now is not that I’m having this crisis, but that people are not helping. I want help from the people at my university to sit down and explain to me what would happen if I drop/switch. What are the good things? A chance for a minor? What are the bad things? Not graduating on time. If I had this help, this crisis would just be a thought, it wouldn’t cause hair pulling or tears. Instead it would cause brainstorming and planning. So what should I do?
So to the chick on the bus: you suck. I want my masters and I will damn get it, but I want it to say Literature, not The Art of Teaching. And to my professor: could you please give me better advice? I don’t even know how to apply for grad school. And to everyone else: I want to drop this program and I am going to do what I want to do; my time and money is too valuable to be wasted on a career that means nothing to me.