Monday, April 09, 2007

end of term

There is something a little surreal about student life. Cramming my head full of information, only to have that buried under more. Reading so much that at a certain point my eyes keep scanning the page but nothing is registering in my brain. Writing so many papers and assignments that I can't always remember what I said and if I really even think that anymore...

But the end is in sight. Two more classes (at both of which I need to hand in term papers), then a take home exam on Thursday. Then I'm done for the summer! I'll be able to read novels! Paint the walls! Excavate the den and find my desk under the piles of papers...

It actually has been a good term. I took a class in identity-based conflict where we looked at the basic human needs - security, connection, action, meaning and recognition - and how threats to these fuel conflicts. Our prof had a supplementary reading list for the class of about 50 books and we had to read 120 pages from this list each week. These books were so excellent though that often I didn't stop at page 121. Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning actually made me change certain thoughts and patterns in my life. Other books like Destructive Emotions and No Future without Forgiveness have also challenged me to reexamine the way I do things and my motivations.

But during these last weeks, curling up with an inspiring book even seems too much of a luxury. I've been tied to my computer cranking out assignments and term papers. I'm proud of myself though - in the last 3 days I wrote a 5,500 word paper, complete with about 40 pages of appendices! Today I have to finish a 5,000 word paper. Right now I'm sitting at around 3,500 words.

This last week reminds me of when I walked the pilgrimage to Santiago in 2004. Toward the end, I was so tired and so ready to arrive. There were over 50 kilometres left and instead of breaking it into two legs as most people did, I decided to push all the way through. I had never tried to walk more than 50 kms in a day, but then again I always had to be keeping some energy in reserve for the next day, and the next. But so close to the end, there was no need to hold back. I set off early and paced myself. For the last 15 kms I did not stop walking, since I knew that if I sat down I would not get up again.

I made it to Santiago in just under 12 hours. The next day my aching feet would barely carry me from the hostel to a cafe. But I was proud to have pushed myself, seen what I was capable of.

This is no physical feat I'm attempting this weekend. But if I can write almost 10,000 words in 4 days, it will be a new record. And oh what a feeling of satisfaction when I can hand it both papers on time and have nothing more hanging over me.

Now back to work.