Lord, the last two papers were finally submitted about thirty minutes ago at 1 PM, 4 hours ahead of the deadline. How I managed to muster enough will to care about them and make them read reasonably well enough to net me a B in the classes, I have no idea. This has been one brutal, uncompromising year. I have wrestled with too many demons to count. I came down full of optimism about the kind of transformation that was about to happen to me, and now I am full of nothing but uncertainty about the future. Between what has happened with things related to school and my professed future career, Trump’s election, my son’s hospital trip, and all of the continuous BS springing up around me, I don’t know how it is I am still here to write these words. Am I being overly dramatic? Only a little bit.
I still have a bunch of paperwork for financial aid to file and some other obligations with the school, but my classwork is done until June 5, when six weeks of intense Greek begins. I’m not especially looking forward to it, and I know that the next two weeks will fly by like nothing and then the last weeks of Greek class will grind to a screeching halt. I know that I won’t be able to read half the books I hope to read this summer in my free time. I know that I won’t exercise as much as I should, nor will I spend nearly the amount of time I should be spending in consideration of my next career move.
The construction outside my window, which had mostly descended into an agreeable hum of pounding and clanking, has started up again with the incessant beep-beeping of someone driving machinery perpetually in reverse. They will be working all summer long to meet a deadline for students to move in in the fall. The first-year students, known as Juniors here, will have no idea what it was like to study during the grueling first year while listening to sounds of construction all day long. Actually, most everyone who doesn’t live in units facing the construction have no idea what it’s like to hear the sound of heavy machinery, pounding and yelling all day long while trying to study theology, Hebrew and the Bible.
It’s kind of amazing how little of Austin I have explored since coming back here. Once school started and my wife went back to work, we pretty much had our free time limited to chasing our son around the house or a playground. I haven’t bothered to look much at old stomping grounds, except in the first month we moved down before classes started. As far as I can tell, Austin has become the perfect place for a single person with a lot of money, and rather imperfect or moderately okay for everyone else. It was already getting that way when we left. I see no need for us to stick around here much after I graduate, except for the possibility of living near grandparents who want to see our son.
I can definitely say that all of my futile efforts to transform myself into being a more pastoral kind of person prior to coming here wore off rather quickly, and it became readily apparent that I probably won’t go on to do work that is related to being a preacher or chaplain. I’ve developed more patience with difficult people as the year has progressed, and adjusted to living in close quarters with people. But, for the most part, I haven’t changed enough to be noticeably different. I am not picked for things like heading up student government, reading texts during Easter worship, meeting and greeting people as an all-around exemplar representative student of the kind that people expect to see when they visit this place. I haven’t socialized enough with the right people, and I have tended to retreat into my unit and study in bed rather than going to the library or picking a spot outside where I can see others and be seen.
I have a much better idea now of what it would take to become an academic of some kind, too. I also don’t think that I am really cut out for that, either. I have more or less plateaued in the kind of papers I am able to write–and they are passable ones for an MDiv student but not really works of genius that indicate a career as a PhD.
This has all been excellent learning material–and, I have continued to broaden my horizon with the kinds of books I hope to read someday. I would be just as happy spending all of my time reading through various books at the library and doing my own independent research, but of course, I have no real source of funding for such a pursuit. It would be mostly undertaken in the spirit of self-satisfaction rather than bettering humanity’s understanding of itself.