I am very close to finishing my semester – in fact I should be working on my term paper right now – and already I’m thinking about summer “projects”. Which things to focus on for the next four months that I’m out of school? Is it going to be working on develping a meditation practice, or a greater emphasis on exercise, or time spent thinking about a project on which I can complete my masters degree, or some combination of all the above? Plus, sewing, gardening, reading for fun, taking holidays and cooking as many new and interesting things as possible.
It’s not like I get a ton of time off work suddenly or anything, but the end of the school term brings with it the lifting of a certain mental weight. The “I should be….” that looms over each semester as I fall behind in my reading or look towards writing the end paper with deep foreboding. As much as I love my decision to return to university last year, it does bring with a certain feeling of time pressure that I remember from leaving things to the last minute during my undergrad 15 years ago. Even though I have much better time management skills now, school produces a particular feeling of anxiety because there is always something one should be doing.
With that in mind I am wondering about how to finish my master’s degree over the next two years. My program allows for one of three ways to finish: coursework (2 classes above the 6 required), a project (not necessarily a thesis), or two extended (30-page) essays. Up until now I have been pretty sure that I wanted to finish on the coursework option, though I have been open to the idea of something else if I go so inspired.
And would you believe that last night I got inspired while drinking gin in our backyard hot tub? Don’t ever doubt, that’s where most of my good ideas come from.
Apocalypse has always been an interesting theme, and one of my goals when I entered the program was to perhaps find ways to tackle that theme through my courses. To some degree I have, though not in any focused sense. And I’ve worried that the whole apocalypse topic has been done to death in academia. But from a conversation with Brian and another friend last night I see another angle that might be interesting to explore. Not only that, I would get to do interviews! And read post-apocalypse fiction (my favourite!) And think and write about some kind of fantasizing that I have strongly identified with at different points of my life.
And! As I told Brian this morning – I could then call myself an Eschatologist (which I know, sounds dirty, right?) which means someone who studies the end of the world (origins are in theology but I don’t think the field only applies to religion any longer).
As I struggle with getting fifteen pages on neuroplasticity out on paper, I do wonder if I really have it in me to write 60 pages. I’m pretty sure the answer to that is yes, but then the question is – do I want to?