I’m glad we’re finally doing what I hope will become a lifelong project. I’ve struggled the past few days to come up with my first response mainly because I could take your three questions in a myriad of directions.
Your questions deal mainly with expectations versus reality, and I’ve found that difficult to reflect on because I had more questions about college than expectations. In the years before college, my thinking reflected my concerns: How am I going to get into college? Which college will I choose? What will my roommate be like? Will I make friends? Will I be lonely? Will I be able to handle the workload? Will college help me figure out what I want to do with my life? Dealing with all these questions AND “considering my education as a coherent whole” isn’t easy. However, now that I’m two years in, having chosen W&M, survived the freshman roommate experience, made friends, found a loving girlfriend remarkably similar to me, and gotten good grades, perhaps I can reflect on my education more broadly.
I’ve exposed myself to more ideas than I could possibly recount in a blog post. I know more about the history of Christianity than most Christians; I’ve read Marx, Nietzsche, Mill, Foucault, and Arendt. My reaction to Rawls’s conception of justice as fairness could adequately summed be up by a certain Beach Boys song. I understand Schrodinger’s Cat. I do not understand the ontological argument. I know entirely too much about Congress and political polarization, and I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve given a pro-choice speech that didn’t incite a riot. I know what the Federal Reserve does and can name more Supreme Court decisions I disagree with than Sarah Palin.
I’ve made significant headway getting what you’d consider a quality education. I’ve taken Macro and Micro economics, contemporary political thought, introductory philosophy, global history, introductory physics, and Christian history. This semester, I’m taking Intro to Islam at eight in the morning. I’ll also be taking Public Policy, Advanced Expository Writing, Introductory Astronomy, and Historian’s Craft. I think those are pretty good choices for someone looking for another minor/major while trying to stay sharp as a writer.
Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out what I want to do with the rest of my life yet. I previously thought I might work in politics, and certain people have told me I should, but the last few years have been a political bummer that has eroded my enthusiasm.
I hope that a productive and focused semester will help me find a career path.
Now, I would like to shift gears. Seeing as how the ball is still in my court, I’d like to ask: how did your college experience – your classes, your roommates, your friends, your relationships, your jobs, your surroundings, and your causes – help shape you? Whatever you’re willing to share, I’d love hear.
Here’s to many years of sharing!