Thursday, November 24, 2011

The fun is almost over

First off, its been a while, but thats okay. There is an inverse relationship between the number of posts on this blog and the amount of work I do, so there's that right there. Its been a lot of research and paper writing, but its on stuff I've learned to love to do, so I'm okay with it. I'll try to make this post fairly short, but lets not kid ourselves here, thats not going to happen. So, listen. Here I am, 21 years old, ready to graduate college in a few weeks. Yep, three and a half years and I'm done. I'm also no longer an education major either. The thought process around that was long and convoluted. It seemed like a disproportionate amount of work- and meaningless work at that- compared to the eventual job placement that may glor may not happen. Moreover, it was just not that interesting to me anymore. Through the couple lessons I taught, I found that I was more or less forced to gloss over things that I thought deserved more attention. I mean, I think for my money the education program gave me a set structure, which is what I needed at the time, but I just felt that I was weighted down with so much work that I didn't want to do I had a hard time keeping my head above water. And that was just the two years I was in the program. What would I be like after another 2? or for a job (at least in the near future)?

Meanwhile, I've increasingly liked my political science classes, especially at the higher levels. Even this seminar I'm taking on comparative democracy thats pretty boring at least keeps my attention. So what did I do? I talked it out. I talked with the dean of the education department (my advisor had gotten a pink slip earlier in the year and I didn't want to talk to him), my International Security professor, and my parents of course. Don't get me wrong, I'd still love to be a teacher, and thats still in my realm of interest, but here's my deal: I feel like I can't teach just one thing in the broad sense, and heres what I mean by that: I was teaching a lesson last year about the french revolution, and I included the absolute monarchy, the financial crisis, the resulting concessions from the monarch, and the revolution itself. The feedback that I got was that it was too long and nobody cared. Well, my opinion is that you really can't learn about an event without learning its context; doing the opposite does students a disservice.

The nail in the coffin for me happened a couple weeks ago, when researching for the Model UN (I'm sure I'll get to that in a future post) and I found that I was actually enjoying the research. I mean, here I was with stacks and stacks of books in my room and three separate research papers on the table, and I was eager to do more research, even if it meant giving up a friday or saturday night. So, my political science professor and I devised a plan, and that plan is this: I can't apply to grad schools this year since the next time I can take the GRE is in February and grad school apps are due December or January so I essentially have a full year off. So I'm going to get an internship because I have no real political science experience. I'll also take classes in Russian and try to learn that. In addition, I'll study really hard for the GRE, maybe take some classes for that, and try and get into one of my top 5 grad schools: Madison, Minnesota, Washington St. Louis, Boulder, or Oregon