March 18, 2012 - 1:00 PM
I've laid my plans for spring break, and so far things are looking good! I am going home to Portland next Friday for about 6 or 7 days to begin with. My friend who has been in the Marines for the better part of the last five years has finally gotten out, so I'm going to be spending some quality time with him around the city taking it easy and catching up.
Following that, my girlfriend and I have made plans to rent a beach house for two nights near Newport. Most likely we'll be getting one with a balcony that overlooks the sea, and is a short drive over to the city proper where we can eat our hearts out. My girlfriend's parents have been nice enough to finance the cabin, and my own our food expenses. It has been an absolutely exhausting and rewarding term- both of us have made leaps in bounds in terms of progress in our careers and school and are looking forward to some time to not think for a few days.
March 18, 2012 - 12:00 PM
It is Sunday afternoon at the time of this writing and I've now finished a total of 18 pages of writing for two my final papers. The good new about being a liberal arts major is that I almost never have to take any exams. When I do, they are only in class written exams that cover the texts that we have read, in lieu of a take home essay. These are excellent, since I can get the graded equivalent of a term paper done in about an hour of rushed writing.
For the most part however, in my Philosophy and English courses I am required to write... a lot. In my course on Richard Rorty this term, my only requirement has been to complete this paper on top of handing in an outline if it earlier and participating in class. With this in mind, the amount of work that I've had to do for this course (with the exception of the reading load, which was extremely have) has been comparably light. For my Shakespeare course, however, a 10 page paper was due last Friday for finals, as well as several others throughout the term. It is really a grab bag and entirely dependent on the whim of one's professors. Either way, I am happy to say that as it stands I am all done for the term!
March 12, 2012 - 12:00 PM
Now that I am in the last stretch of my time in college I have been reflecting on what it is that I have learned in these four years. With my English Major, there is almost too much to sum up in a brief blog post but I will try my best.
I have learned two very simply things. The first is that the world is extremely complex. You can read this line and say, "You paid all of that money for that?!" and I will happily acknowledge that I have. Oftentimes the disciplines of history, science, philosophy, etc. give us the impression that the world as we know it is reducible to a few principles or formulas. In my time as an English major I have read enough novels to know that the way in which we experience the world is far beyond these simple dualities. For instance, I read Karen Tei Yamashita's "Tropic of Orange," a postmodern novel that dealt with the complexities of a multicultural urban life for a clash my freshman year. This novel has painted the American experience as something far beyond the archetypal 50's suburban utopia that we think of when we think of something that is classically American.
The second thing that I have learned is that literature is merely representation. Again, another simple point but a profound one. The first question to ask yourself when studying literature is often, "what is literature trying to do?" Mostly it is trying to represent the world in some idiosyncratic way. William Shakespeare gives us a much better idea of what life was like in Elizabethan England was that any textbook. The same can be said with Socrates and ancient Greece. Literature is a mirror onto nature that helps us better understand the world, something that I feel great about having spent these four years with.
March 11, 2012 - 12:00 PM
I have lived in four different places in the four different years that I have spent in Eugene. The first was the dorms, which were a unique but ultimately difficult experience for me. The second place that I lived was on Augusta Street, on the other side of Hendrick's Park far removed from campus. I was only a 10 minute bike ride from campus, but I felt like I was a world away.
Last year I lived on Agate Street at 20th. I really enjoyed having my commute be a leisurely walk to school. The area was gorgeous and the real estate prices beyond anything I could or will be able to afford in my lifetime. It was really a treat being able to walk over to Washburne Park any time I pleased to read a book and bath in the sun.
Now I live in South Eugene on College Hill. This is easily the best house that I have lived in. I have a beautiful view of the Masonic cemetery and campus from where I now sit in my living room. I've got about four months left on my lease and intend to spend as much of that time as possible looking out the window at this incredible sight. It has been quite the journey up to this point- I have always at least partially hated my living situation and now I love it so much that it will take quite a bit more for me to ever leave. In the meantime you can find me curled up on the sofa with some coffee and a good novel most of the day in the rainy weather, appreciating everything while it lasts.
March 2, 2012 - 1:00 PM
I just finished registering for courses for the very last time in college. All of these last events are not as sad as I would have thought. I am of course going to dearly cherish these years in Eugene, but I have had the feeling lately like I am very much ready for the next stage. Work is good, school is good, but I nonetheless have a lot that I would like to accomplish in my life and am absolutely ready to start now. The satisfaction of having a job without work to take home with me will be enormous. I spend much of my free time cranking out papers and reading books, and it is sometimes just too much to maintain over a four year stretch.
For next term I've enrolled in a course on John Dewey- the most famous of the pragmatist philosophers, a course on literature and its relationship to philosophy, and Urban Farm. Urban Farm is from what I understand one of the most difficult classes in the school to get in to. I have never had room in my schedule to take it so I haven't even bothered, but now I am excited to say that I am enrolled since I need only two more classes for my major at this point. Although I am itching to do other things, I am still very lucky to have great things to do in the meantime!