Thursday, October 10, 2002

well, i guess i will not be a lit major, or alternately titled: life sucks

Dear Charlie:

On behalf of the faculty in British and American literature, I am writing to inform you that your application for a major in British and American literature has been denied. While you may reapply, the Literature faculty has had some concerns about the rationale for your application and interest in the field that should be addressed. First, although your coverage of genre and period is not complete, the faculty was more concerned that your interest in literary analysis seemed erratic, more dependent on whether texts interested you than on a broader interest in critical theory per se. Secondly, we were concerned that your ability to do good textual analysis also seemed erratic. The facts that you have recently jeopardized your standing in Russian Literature and dropped Modern Drama before consulting your advisor do not give us confidence that you are deeply engaged with literary study. Since you already have a declared Humanities AOC, you might be better served by defining a viable thesis topic, gathering support from three faculty, and working on a project that does deeply interest you. You should make an early appoitment to speak with your advisor about your options and to determine the next step you should take.


Miriam Wallace
Associate Professor, British and American Literature


Subject: help!

Miriam Wallace:

I am writing to "make an early appointment to speak with you . . . about [my] options and to determine the next step [I] should take." What are your office hours that I could meet with you? I guess we should meet after fall break. I would really like to talk to you about what I should do now.

Honestly, I guess I was not expecting to be denied for a lit AOC - that was not even a possibility in my academic plans. I was just going to be a lit major and that was that, I took this application to be just a minor formality. I just got your letter, took out of my mailbox, opened it carelessly and read that jarringly unambigious word, "denied," and so I am a little confused right now about many things, namely how the hell I am going to graduate from here, from this school. I should have probably held off on writing you until I had thought about this more, until I had figured out what I want to do with myself now, but right now I am motivated - I have lots of thoughts, neurons are firing rapidly, thoughts, plans, and big scary fears are all dueling it out right now, and since you are my advisor, I thought that it might be good to direct these at you, that maybe you might be able to help, that you might be able to advise me even about what you think I should do. So sorry if this is jumbled, is this is "erratic" - it is simply me trying to put things in order, to verbalize them, to make sense out of my confusion.

Here are my thoughts on options. I am fine with being a Humanities major but the thing is that I don't even know if that is possible now at this point since to do that you have to have completed the third semester of a foriegn language, and I only have two more semesters after this one that I can stay here. Staying here next spring is simply not an option - not only would I literally go insane from being unable to escape Sarasota, but it is not humanely possible since my scholarships run out next fall, and there is no way that I can pay for a semester's worth of out-of-state tuition. And I am really worried that I am not going to graduate - that I may even unsat this semester because of Russian fiction.

Which I should probably tell you about. I had a paper due for that class on Tuesday, and granted I had all the time in the world to write the paper, I simply did not do it on time, did not think it would be a big deal if I turned it in Wednesday morning. And it turned out that I am not very good at predicting things, that a late paper was in fact a huge deal to this professor. And so yes, that is all completely my fault and it all could have been so easily avoided, and I have already kicked myself numerous times for my lack of foresight, for how easily all my troubles could have been averted, and I just got spanked with regret again today when it was mentioned in the letter I recieved as evidence of my "erratic"-ness. I am going to go to class tomorrow, participate in discussion, will try not to cry and hopefully will be able to talk to Schatz afterwards, see if it is completely hopeless for me in that class, for this semester, and for my life. It is all the more upsetting knowing that I may not graduate from college because I turned in one paper late that I did not think would be a big deal, that of all the things, all the errors I have made here at this school, this is going to be the one that sinks me, that is my demise.

Okay, so yeah, back to what steps I am considering taking, the Humanities one. I am now kicking myself for dropping Greek, for thinking that I was going to be a lit major and would not need to fulfill any language requirements. But, what I am thinking is that I may (hopefully!) be able to take the second semester of Spanish in the spring since I took four years of it in high school and have a basic knowledge of it that I could brush up on before spring semester. And that I guess is my only option right now for fulfilling that language requirement and still graduating next fall.

The other option which I have sort of backed off from quite a bit now, but which was my resolute decision an hour ago, is to just say "Fuck you" to college, to school - and to start living my life, to do whatever it is that I intended on doing after I graduated from college. But since I am not really so sure what I intended on doing after college, that plan sort of looked a little less appealing, especially coupled with my lack of savings to move anywhere exciting, somewhere other than back home. And then there is the whole social norms, social expectations thing that also wants to be just have a degree for whatever reasons, to get whatever job I believe it is neccesary for, so that I do not have to toss pizzas at Dominos anymore. Another daydream that I was set on a short while ago was going to work on a kibbutz and to just travel. But really, what I would do after that without a degree concerned me. And so, I would like to graduate in the fall still. I mean, really I don't know what I am trying to say, what even to do with myself besides fall asleep, hope that I will wake up with everything figured out, that it will all work out.

And I like to reassure people often that "everything is going to be okay." And now, I don't know. I am so unsure as to if that statement has any truth to it all, if it is not just a verbal pacifer for the world to suck on - but whatever, it's what keeps me living, so yeah, hopefully everything we'll be okay.

Any advice?


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