Quarterlife+


Life choices.Basic addition.College reflections

Posted in Aging by Ashley Franklin on November 10, 2009
Tags: , , , , , ,

rubik's cube startrubik's cuberubik's cube finishedMy little brother came home with this Rubik’s cube from the dollar store. We all love the idea of being able to get things cheaply for a dollar, but the key word to keep in mind is cheap. He’s all excited about this Rubik’s cube he bought, and I couldn’t understand it. I don’t know why it’s ever a good idea to buy a toy that is utterly frustrating, but he thought it was a good idea.

Maybe three days went past and the cube was in pieces. He’d turned it one too many times and the whole thing fell to pieces. My sister, who likens herself to a Mr. Fix It, dedicated her time (really the time it took us to get to church-about twenty or so minutes) to fixing it. She did succeed in putting it back together. All the pieces were there, and you could turn it without it falling apart again. Was it really fixed though?

Rubik’s cubes can be solved mathematically or by sheer luck. I’m pretty sure if math is involved that there’s a certain way it should be done. For that reason, I highly doubt that the cube is fixed. It looks fine on the outside. It’s functional. However, it will never be quite right.

Life is about choice. We all make choices knowing that there is going to be an outcome. My days of high school physics told me that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Yet, in life it seems like sometimes the reactions aren’t equal. They seem a great deal bigger than those initial choices.

Let’s take college, for instance. The first choice is whether or not you choose to go. Where you choose to go largely depends on your finances, your major, location, the school’s reputation, and parental opinion. For some, parental opinion doesn’t weigh in big. For others that may be under eighteen when going to college, parental opinion can turn into parental control. Once you’re in college, you make and lose friends, add and drop classes (or in my case majors), pick and choose advisors, etc. There are tons of choices leading up to the day you earn your degree, which you receive if your choices add up correctly.

I went to a small liberal arts college, not fully by my own choice. I had almost every major in the catalogue and sported several matching advisors. Some days I went to class, and some days I didn’t. (I’ll admit I usually didn’t go to class if it was raining. I’m not a fan.) I teetered between being insecure and overly confident on a daily basis. I made good friends, and I pushed away great ones. I’m glad to say the best ones are still around. I laughed. I loved. I cried. I hated. I picked a major I was good at. Many things fell apart in college, but I got through it. I graduated.

I was functioning. I even went on to graduate school with the major I’d picked basically during my junior year. How I graduated in four years is still a mystery to most. Things were looking good on the outside. I guess I hadn’t put the pieces back together as well as I’d thought. Things just wouldn’t add up. I was pursuing a graduate degree in a subject I was good at. I was completely unhappy. It didn’t make any sense. Reading and writing was no longer fun. It was mechanical. It was methodical. It was uninteresting.

I was in a two-year program, but the expectation was to continue to the Ph.D. I just had to get through the first year and everything would fall into place. The second year came, and midway through I realized I was wrong. I was in the midst of budding scholars housing a passion for their interests. I hated teaching. I hated the classes. I wasn’t too fond of some of the professors. It looks like I didn’t put things back together correctly when they had fallen apart.

My brother made the choice to spend his dollar. He may have felt that the would find a great bargain if he went to the dollar store. He chose the toy. He chose when and how to play with it. In the end, he lost. He now has a toy that looks good on the outside but can never live up to its full potential. These are the results of the choices he made. That’s life.

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