Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Picture of a First Day of School (2009)

Comment: 6-20-12
My first repost in a while. I'm often surprised at my own writing. Sometimes clean, sometimes funny. Even 3 years ago, competent and effective. I'm not bragging; it's the truth. I kinda wish things had gone better.

Picture of a First Day of School

How even to begin to describe it?  Like being at the State Fair (and in saying such, I limit my audience to Minnesotans who go/have gone to the Fair) or a very busy airport.  Shuttle busses whiz students and faculty back and forth across a campus so large it has its own transit system.

There’s a presence in the air here; one both oppressive and welcoming.  It threatens to crush the unready, but for some, for me anyway, carries a sort of pheremonal, almost psychic (if there is such a thing) empowerment.

“I can work with this,” my mind says.  “This is a thing that we can use.”  At Century, I managed, tried even, to float through.  To pass between people and classes like an Olympic diver into water, leaving only a quiet “blurp” and the smallest ripple to mark my passage.

I didn’t want to deal with its sort of extended high school attitude, or the remarkable number of intelligent, but very young PSEO students.  That type of thing would never work here.  Such a solo-isolationist act would ensure I never knew the things I would need to know so I could finish my time here.

Even if I could pass unnoticed, I would not want to.  I can enjoy this place, but it’s more than that.  As my friend Dan learned, college is not about receiving an education, or certainly not only about that, but about meeting people who would make it worthwhile to GET said education.  It’s all about networking (and that applies to all of life, not just college.)
That sort of psychic-like mental-energy-feeling beckons.  It calls to the interested mind.  It says “Grow here.  Become something more.”  My mind agrees.  It feels the power of 40,000 people of similar age with similar goals.  Here I can take root and make a home.  If I didn’t, I would be wholly destroyed, but, of course, I really want to, so that possibility doesn’t worry me.

The best words and phrases of creative thought come to me in useless quips as I walk through the teeming masses.  As I buy a coke; “Do I take the sure slow death of carcinogenic artificial sweeteners?  Or the irresponsibly lazy death of sugar induced heart disease?” I chose diet only because I like how it tastes better from a fountain than normal coke from such a source.  Also, the excess sugar makes me jittery.

It’s like being in some mythical city.  Not Minneapolis, which it is in, or even any other city I’ve ever been to, but like what movies show us Seattle (where I’ve never gone) or New York (where I have gone) are supposed to be.  Heavily bustling foot traffic marches between their peers who form lines in doorways.  Out on the sunny grass-filled lawns people sit, lie, stand, spin (practice balls for fire spinning of course,) and bike.  Hordes of bikes.  They pedal by in twos and twenties, migratory herds running from predatory shuttle busses.

Is it always this way?  Does it die down as the weary Fall season and heavy class load beat at their youthful spirits?  Even if 10% of them dropped out (10% of the whole school being bigger than any school I’ve ever gone to before) then it should still be packed with humans.
I can only imagine the tunnels between buildings will, in the winter, look like some scene out of a disaster movie.  Thousands of people, refugees from the hostile environment, shuffling through low cement walk ways.
Beginning classes always leaves people feeling overwhelmed.  Beyond even that though, I know I have a lot to do.  I need to look into lots of things which are native to the U that I am unfamiliar with.  I need to look into transit alternatives.  If things went perfectly (and so far they have, so I’m going to trust God to keep everything working for me) I will live within range to join those rubber-on-cement leg pedaling herbivores (the bikers, duh.)

If things don’t, I need to look into busses or carpools.  Even if I simply commute as I have been, parking daily will quickly bankrupt me.

Essentially everything is coming down to money.  I need to work out financial aid stuff.  Hopefully I can get work study still.  Hopefully I can get loans in time.  Hopefully I can earn enough money to move closer and fix the transportation issue.  I might get grants.  I might get lots of grants (hopefully!)

Even if I do, if I get the hours and pay I’d want, I won’t be so impoverished next year as to get them again, and so will need to come up with at least $5,000 a year that I don’t have access to this year.  I suppose the whole of this relative pipe-dream rests on book selling.  I want to finish book 1 and have it sold in a year.  This may be (read: IS) unrealistic.

Oh well.  I’ll cross these bridges when I come to them.  At the moment, I’m doing what I want to do and am enjoying it.  I’m happy to be in school and look forward to the challenge of juggling another semester of class, work, homework, and life.

For now, simply being happy is enough for me.

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