…who I was a year ago or two years ago and so on and so forth.
I suppose we all wonder this. But I especially think on this question as a college student, since college students tend to be sort of obsessed with all things identity, perhaps because our identities turn over so rapidly. Every semester, I think, I’ve had a keen sense of substantial growth. Every semester involves cheerful laughter over “Oh dear, I did think I was so intelligent, and look at what I’ve just bumbled into: a whole huge collection of ideas that I’ve never thought about before.”
But along with this sense of discontinuity and rapid change is also a feeling of odd continuity – at any given point, I find myself reliving a year ago. Last spring the warm weather made me viscerally anxious, as I recalled writing my EMW paper and preparing for the Mayterm to follow. Today the empty hallways of 3rd L (everyone’s outside studying) and the logic exams I’m carrying with me bring to mind how unhappy I was over the semester’s end a year ago.
That was my philosophy semester, that ridiculous semester when I decided I wanted to get clear about the funny discipline of philosophy and become be less confused by the conversations of my older classmates. It was also a test of my own inclinations, I guess – would I still like philosophy after a semester full of it?
It worked. Two seminars unapologetically threw me into conversation with those classmates. I learned a lot from them, in both content and method. Medieval philosophy filled in yet another gap in my grasp of the history of philosophy. Logic was, well, logic. I was good at it and it did affect how I think.
In many ways, that semester set the agenda for what I’m thinking about right now. I’ve been writing book reviews this morning for my independent study on metaphor theory, something I first started wondering about last January. The chain of questions that’s behind my honors project (which is up next…!) began with a furious realization one morning in my philosophical theology seminar. And said seminar shaped substantially the big sys theo paper I wrote earlier this semester.
On the whole, it was a great semester, last spring. (I usually have great semesters, actually, so it wasn’t unusual in that respect.)
Well, drat, I’m just meandering. I guess what I want to say is this: I was pretty sad last May to have that semester end. And I’m pretty sad to have this semester end, right now. Perhaps I shouldn’t be; this has been a bad semester as far as semesters go. Still, I’m sad to have finished up the four-course history of philosophy sequence. Sad that one of my favorite-ever classes (sys theo) is over. Sad to be (almost) done TAing which has been pretty much the best ever, as J. would say. Sad to be saying good-byes that have to last until January.
Yes, this is pathetic; the intensity of my love for semester beginnings outweighs my dislike for semester ends, and I have to have the latter to have the former.
I would add a list of “thing to say to year-from-now me”, but I guess that isn’t a list for a blog. I’ll write it up elsewhere. That way, next spring, when I’m wondering, I won’t have to write an oblique blog entry about it.
Hey, I’ll try to save the post with a photo that I like from my friend Ken. It involves clinging to things – which sort of relates? : )