the strategic location of my future empire
So here I am, falling back on Plan II, pun intended. Though I've put my dictatorial ambitions aside, temporarily, I feel like I am on the right track. Because what do we do when we don't have the money, the knowledge, or the language skills to accomplish our dreams? We go to college!
In reality, I came to the realization last year that I would go to college, a normal college, and get whatever I could out of it. This wasn’t a submission to the norms of society, or the pressures of my parents, or the fear of actually entering the “real world”. I realized that learning was what I loved to do, and what I was good at. I fully appreciate the statement “[college] is the last time in your life you will be given the chance to simply learn things with few other responsibilities”(Course Anthology, 110). That is the kind of chance I have always wanted, the freedom to simply pursue knowledge, without having to apply it to some end result or major life decision. I have always wanted knowledge to be “an inward endowment”(167), not just something that would help me get into college, or get a job, or sound interesting. This is why I’m so happy to have found Plan II, and the University of Texas.
The Plan II emblem reflects the duality that I seek.
Plan II is a perfect fit for me, as it allows me to major in something while not really having to pick a major. While I probably will narrow my focus somewhat, its comforting to know that I can pursue knowledge freely, without having to worry much about getting my required hours and coursework etc. Plan II provides the breadth of study and the unity of knowledge that I crave. The classes I’m required to take may not pertain to subjects I’m interested in, but they all have a common goal – to help me understand the best way to learn, to adapt, and to think ahead of the curve. This way I’ll be able to take all of my interests, all of my goals, all of my thoughts, and “hammer them into unity”. I am touched by the statement “all branches of knowledge are connected together, because the subject-matter of knowledge is intimately united in itself”(165). This is a concept I’ve tried to explain to my parents, my teachers, my friends, who cannot grasp my seemingly pointless pursuit of fields that have nothing to do with another. But Plan II gets it, and that’s why I’m here.
I’m already excited by the types of learning I’ve engaged in so far. I expected college to be solid lecture, with little interaction and few ways to make myself known to the professor. While I do enjoy a dry lecture, the same way I enjoy driving long distances and manual labor (this is not sarcasm), the direct exchange of knowledge from professor to student does leave something to be desired, or rather, something to be learned. I'm glad my classes aren't like this one!That’s what this class, heavy in experiential learning, has begun to teach me. It is essential to have something that “force[s] you to confront your current ideas about the subject… and reconcile them with what you now observe to be the case”(184). It’s easy in a lecture class to hear what a professor has to say, repeat it back on an exam, but never really believe or understand it. There needs to be a conflict, a challenge, that forces me to either find ways to make my ideas undeniably true or concede to other viewpoints. Basically, I’m glad to be in an environment where bullshit will not be tolerated, because it’s incredibly easy to revert back to that tendency, so well manicured in high school. I feel like Plan II, coupled with UT as a whole, gives me free reign to explore all the possibilities of academia, while still keeping me in check, making sure that my efforts lead to something, if not something as solid as a career or grad school, at least to a unity of thought, a focus in my pursuit of limitless knowledge.
I still have ridiculous ambitions. I still want to major in Mayan culture and neuroscience, plus maybe physics and linguistics and studio art. But I realize that there must be a structure to my education, and that’s what college gives me, along with a piece of paper that will help me access the knowledge I may be unable to acquire here. I can only hope that my mind will reach the state of “the intellect… which knows, and thinks while it knows… which… cannot be but patient, collected, and majestically calm, because it discerns the end in every beginning… because it ever knows where it stands, and how its path lies from one point to another”(168). To me, this is internal bliss, something I will work towards the rest of my life, far beyond where I get in college.
My inevitable academic future?