Overwhelmingly overdue, this post really can't begin to capture the last 40 days. A ragged and runaway roller coaster, with all the highs and lows of a soap opera episode. I really can't think straight enough to put together a long cogent post, but I'll try to hit the highlights.
Of my 53 classmates, 52 of them are 10 years or more younger than me. That stings a bit. I mean, with all the demons I've been fighting the last few years, about being past my prime- too old, too fat, too.... well, being surrounded by skinny 20 somethings has definitely punched a few buttons. Then again, many of the conversations I've been privy to have proved to me that one really does learn and grow an AWFUL LOT between 24 - 36. There's just not enough money for me to go back to that time, and my years of experience have allowed me some leeway in staying above the flow of the drama.
Speaking of drama, it really is the worst part of the program. Sure, the hours are insanely long. Many days a week, I wake at 5am, to leave my house by 5:30. On Monday of this week, my alarm didn't go off, meaning that I was late... and thus docked points for the tardy. Still, that personal emergency, as emotionally taxing as it was, is nothing when compared to loves and betrayals and roommate tragedies that I have been made aware of. I remain confident in my decision to live away from other students, despite the long and tiring commute.
Some classes require public speaking and a taste for the theatrical. These are, of course, the easiest for me. Other classes require only that you attend, that you work hard while there, and that you are not ever even one minute late. Short of the "alarm clock incident", I have done well in those. Still other classes are heavy on science and memorization. They require studying and in some cases, comprehension (not just rhetoric). These are a little more difficult, although I've found some study buddies that are most helpful.
Until this week, I would have said that the class as a whole had not gelled. However, several times in the last few days, I have been doubled over with laughter as compatriots and I, delirious from fatigue, found humor and connection in our shared duties and hardships. As one new friend said recently, the early rising, the long hours, the filthy tasks, the stressful tests... they are stepping stones, not hurdles, for "we are exactly where we are meant to be."
As I sit here tonight, on a rare night without studying, and watch the movie "V for Vendetta", I reflect on its message, and remember how it moved me the night I first saw it in the theatre.
Frequently in Conservation class, as we watch another depressing video, I feel overwhelmed with sadness and despair that we as a people are doing so much damage to resources, to the creatures we share this planet with, to ourselves. It feels hopeless, most of the time. But the other night, there was a small stirring in my soul. I don't know why it was there, or how long it has been in there, residing quietly. But it was a part of me that believed in passion and purpose, integrity and making a difference, however small. It is the same part of me that cries a little each time I watch this movie. It is a part of me that urges me to be more, and that whispers to me, that whatever I may think, or even fear, the Universe has her grand design, and I am in fact "exactly where [I] am meant to be."