For a long time, my goals have pretty much been "pay my bills" and .... well, that's about it. I don't do housework regularly. I made not even scrape Ds in my two classes. The last two school semesters I've started out saying school is going to be a priority ... and ... well ... yeah. I suck. I've slept through or just not gone to most of my class sessions this semester; and I really can't even explain to myself why. Some deep screwed up psychological thing? Just plain laziness? I haven't really known.

See, the insane thing is that I really do enjoy learning stuff. I read books about English history and plug names into family tree programs so I can tell you the exact relationship between Edward Longshanks and Richard II. While studying biochem, I came across the fascinating fact that whales' muscles are brown because they have so much hemoglobin in them, which is what allows them to stay underwater for so long. I then called my mom and my best friend just to tell them this. I've been known to read psychology textbooks for fun. Really! I used to get great grades. My first three years in college were so good, it took flat out failing 37 credits and getting Ds in 14 more before I hit academic probation. So it's not that I'm stupid; it's not that I can't do it. For whatever reason, I've chosen not to.

I thought it started when my life started to fall apart in other ways. I found out something fairly traumatic for me right before my spring 2003 semester ... but I just looked it up and I still passed my classes that semester. I took two classes that summer too, and I passed one. The other one, well, I should've known better than to even attempt something as complicated as organic chemistry, at eight in the morning, in a condensed format, when my boyfriend was in town (he's from another country, so it wasn't a common occurrence). That was just dumb on my part. I passed my classes the following semester, too.

Where did it start going down the drain? Oh, that would be when I changed my major from psychology to nutrition. Or rather, when I chopped out the psychology part--for two years I was doing a double major, but most of my classes had been in the psych category or related things. I'd added the nutrition thing because I did have an interest in it, but I realize now it was an interest in the science behind it, and that the clinical side of it was of no interest to me. I was going to do both psych and nutrition ... but I let my dad's voice in my head overrule me. I let his constant harping about psychology being useless wear me down. I let him going on and on about needing to do something practical worm its way into my brain.

And so I dropped the psychology portion of my major. And that was when I started failing classes. Oh, I wasn't perfect before that--I withdrew from my entire second semester, but that was because I had mono. And I got a couple of Ds before that. But it wasn't until I decided to focus strictly on something "useful" that I really screwed up. My dad insists it's because of my mother leaving him--he says she ruined my life. But I specifically remember calling her at home (like pre-split home, like Home-home) that semester, in a panic because I didn't think I was going to pass things. Sure, it didn't help when they split up; and then I got really sick for a few weeks; and then I got fired from my job because of that, and was unemployed for several months. That was the end of that fall/start of spring for me; not so much fun. But before things exploded, I was already screwing up.

I took a while off, and came back knowing that I didn't want to do nutrition as a career. But I plowed ahead with it because I figured I might as well get a degree in something, and it might as well be something I had a decent start in. Which is true, but it's obviously not good motivation for me. I'm not interested in my classes. Well, okay, biochem is interesting, kinda, but in terms of things like whale muscles--not in terms of being able to identify an amino acide reside by its titration curve. But nutritional assessment? Medical nutrition therapy? Blech. (And that's not even considering the fact that hearing how fatties should be counseled to "eat less and move more" makes me want to gouge eyeballs.) Even if I did struggle through, I don't think I'd feel a sense of accomplishment--because I don't think I'd retain much of it at all.

So what to do? Well, I think it's time to change my major again. Screw studying something "useful". Screw getting done more quickly. I want to study something I'll be proud of, something I enjoy, something that makes me feel like this:

(I freaking love Family Guy, in case you haven't noticed.)

Now .... what is that something going to be? The obvious choice would be psychology; that's what I was doing before, after all. But I already have an associate's degree in psychology, and I don't really feel too much like pursuing it further. I've been struggling with this in the back of my mind for months, honestly, even thoughI hadn't realized how obvious it was when I started tanking classes. I talked to my aunt about it when she was here a couple of weekends ago, and her suggestion was to go through the course catalog and write down the things that interested me--without thinking about a major, or prerequisites, or class times, or anything.

When I did that, the classes I was interested in fell in to three categories; a couple in psychology, a few in language, and quite a few in history. That was almost two weeks ago, and I've been rolling the idea around in my mind since, especially since as part of a history degree you have to choose either a statistics or a language section, and that's perfect. The three things I keep smacking up against that have stopped me from doing it are 1) not jumping into it too fast 2) what the hell would I do with a history degree? and 3) what if I fail at this too.

I've put off doing the paperwork so I don't fall prey to number one; number three is going to pop up regardless because I have no way of absolutely knowing this is right; and number two is one I keep trying to dismiss. School shouldn't just be a means to an end, especially when I don't know what that end is (I still don't know what I want as a career). I should enjoy it if I'm going to do it. And all the classes for a history degree look really interesting!

Plus I can do the language option, and I used to have quite a knack for languages (at least written, I always felt stupid trying to get the accent down). I did three years of French and two of German in high school; I know a little bit of Spanish. I could continue any of those. Or I could do Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Latin, or Russian! How freaking cool would it be to learn Russian? Just because I could.

The more I think about it, the more excited I'm getting. I'd like school to be something I look forward to again, instead of something I sleep my way through/totally fail at because I can't be bothered to try. I think I'll make the call for an appointment tomorrow.

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4 Responses
  1. Simon Says:

    I think you summed that up neatly at the end. When we go to high school etc. it's because we have to. What you're doing now is because you WANT to, so it SHOULD be something you enjoy. It does sound like you're getting your spark back with regards to studying and that's good. Who cares what 'use' a History major would be? How many other people do you hear of who say that have a degree in such-and-such, but their job is NOTHING to do with it? (Political Science major as a computer technician, or an IT major as a landscape gardener) If a history major will turn you back on to studying and enjoying school, go for it.

  2. purplegirl Says:

    I'm going ahead with it! I have an appointment at 11 tomorrow morning to do the paperwork. :)

  3. Simon Says:

    Well done you!! Just think, in a little while, you'll be getting up at the crack of lunchtime and looking forward to going to school! I'm happy for you :-) (see? Smiling)

  4. purplegirl Says:

    Hey, my first class is at eleven, that's WELL before lunch! :)