Energy Beneath My Feet

I was going to go to WCC commencement tomorrow, but I forgot to buy a cap and gown, and don’t know where I can get the right ones in the appropriate color. It is probably black, but I would be embarrassed to show up as the only person wearing navy blue or something. Anyway, I don’t particularly mind. Originally, I felt I ought to go, just in case I regretted it later. I mean, you only graduate once, right?

Well, not really. The degree I am supposed to be awarded (which I won’t actually have earned till the end of the summer semester) is an associates in general studies. As the pinnacle of my educational career to date, it is hardly something I would readily boast of. What does a degree in “General Studies” mean, anyway? Even capitalization doesn’t add much grandeur to it. All I can think when I look at is is, “Gee, I’ve been hanging around here for a while.”

Don’t misunderstand, it isn’t that I am ungrateful. Washtenaw has been good to me, and if anything, I kind of felt I ought to attend commencement as to honor their institution. I have, for the most part, enjoyed their classes, their instructors, and their coffee. But I haven’t been particularly challenged, and so graduating is no particular achievement on my part. Really, it’s just a reminder that it’s time I moved on.

Trouble is, I don’t have anywhere to go to yet.

So maybe that’s the other part of why I wanted to go to commencement. Maybe, I’m afraid it will be the only college graduation I ever get. Honestly, that thought kind of terrifies me. Right at this moment, I have a lot of grand ambitions, and a fair number of them begin with some sort of truly challenging academic environment. So long as I get in somewhere, I will be content. But as long as I’m preparing for another year of In-Between, I’d like to feel like my associates degree isn’t something I’ve settled for.

It is a landmark, certainly. When I get it, I will be glad. But it’s no place to stop and rest. I’d like to think of it as a stepping stone, or a spring board. Like, “something underground’s gonna come up and carry me.”

Moving forward, onward ho, land off the starboard prow. Or something.

2 thoughts on “Energy Beneath My Feet

  1. Congratlationss on the degree. At the end of 2007 I gained a “Bachelor of Science Open” from the Open University. The first “Open” means it was cobbled together from a variety of subjects chosen by myself (no “major” as you'd say in the states). In fact I was able to transfer credit from previous study at college when I was young (an accountancy qualification which I did not complete) too. So I feel a bit like you, I think, as to what the degree actually represents. But I did do some serious studying! And I learned a lot, especially from the third level course I did, which I think I've mentioned before (Cities and Technology)- I read about so many places and developments in the history of cities and of technology that I found it really enriching. Now I often think “I read about that on my course” – e.g. the other day I saw a picture of San Gimignano in Italy, which has skyscrapers hundreds of years old, or if I see a large building from the past 2 or 3 centuries I know a bit about the development of iron, steel and concrete construction.


  2. Well, hey, congratulations! I'm still in the middle of some of the studies I need in order to finish up my degree, and honestly, they're enough to make me feel like I really am earning something. But anyway, give me a few weeks after the end of the semester, and I'm sure I'll feel differently.


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