Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Silly Observations about School

Today I got my student ID for the University of Maryland. On it is "Graduate Student." I cam back to my office and set it on my computer keyboard and just looked at it a good part of the day feeling delighted. I'm so pleased to be in the MFA program at Maryland. That pleasure is evident on the ID - my smile is that of the cheshire cat, my signature is large - the J runs off of the screen. In addition to this joy of getting the student ID, I also had my first day at school that didn't involve crying as a result of anxiety. Last week, on the two days that I had classes, I cried - mainly in the parking garage and came within a breath of just not going to the classes. Then, unable to really determine where I was to buy my books, I cried in the middle of the tropical storm on Friday. Today, though, no tears; just a gorgeous student ID.
Beyond the silly though, one thing that struck me today about school is that for the past fifteen years, I've really been paid to make decisions, generally quick decisions within the constraints of inadequate information and resources. That is what has been prized and rewarded for me professionally for fifteen years: quick decisions within large constraints. Now, in academia, quick decisions, quick judgments are not of interest. What is valued is not decisions and judgments, quick or slow (well perhaps reasoned, slow decisions and judgments are valued, but I haven't gotten there yet), what is valued is absorption and assimilation of information. Other things that are valued are reflection and intellectual rigor. It is a different way of being in the world. I'll be adjusting over time.
Meanwhile, though I am putting together 1,500 invitations for an event and 600 postcards and I have to put together the dinner of spinach pie and salad. While I feel on the precipice of something lofty, I am constantly grounded by my job, my life, which is such a good thing.

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