With Thanksgiving over and preparations being made to return to U of I tomorrow, I'm realizing that there's a week and a half of classes left. Then finals and... it's over. Whoa, hold on a second. I remember several points during the semester when I'd look at an Allenotes in my dorm (Allen Hall) and see that it was week 8, or week 10. The semester was one enormously long stretch until about halfway through, and then the next few weeks flew by. Crazy...
This semester has changed me, I think. I feel a little burned out... I actually laughed a few days ago when I asked myself if I really want to go to graduate school. What would the other option be? Stay home and play video games? Try to make a rock band and play drums for a living? Sure, those are sources of immediate gratification, but what's down the line? Deprived of biology long enough, I'm sure I'd start itching to learn more about how the world works. This all reminds me of that concept from introductory psychology... it's like, people have "lists" of desired activities, and things that are normally low on the list can actually move up if one doesn't do them frequently. The opposite thing can happen for things that one does very frequently. People take for granted their health until it's jeopardized... then, it's the most important thing in the world to them.
Anyway, this is a tremendous deviation from the point of this post. I feel burnt out because I've tried so hard and met such resistance, especially from organic chemistry... I'll be glad when it's over. And I'll be glad when this semester is over, but not because I'll be done with my classes. I feel that I have learned so much this fall, maybe more so than the entire last year. Finishing this semester will put a cap on everything that I've done so far and let me finally get closure on the last few months. IB Honors has been intense but it's been a flood of information and experiences that I want and that have helped me understand the world.
It was nice to return home and be able to put the books aside and do whatever I wanted with no obligations for a few days. After a while, though, I started getting that familiar uncomfortable feeling like I should be doing something worthwhile. This, I feel, is the reason I want to go to graduate school. It's easy to get lost in the work, sleep deprivation, and occasional frustration. The whole point of why one is doing something can be hard to hold onto. I want to pave the way into unfamiliar territory, into concepts that are still unclear and the textbooks avoid. I want to do something that others will read about and say, "wow." When I was in high school, in my final reflective paper in English I wrote that I wanted to change the world. Coming to college, I see that changing the world is going to be a bit harder than I anticipated. But give me time.
IBH students travel the world, publish research papers, and do all sorts of amazing things