“When you’re in a surreal space, surreal things will happen – it’s what you get when you take a chance and stop listening to “how things are and should be.” ” –Ryan Clark Holiday
How things are and should be is what I most struggle with. It is what I meant here, about living in cognitive dissonance. It is at the heart of my struggle – that to be successful, one does not have to go to school and put up with any of this. To look around and see everyone else so complacent with being here, satisfied that they made the right step and are doing the right thing – it makes my stomach turn.
If I really wanted to alleviate the problem I would drop out and join John on S/V Cacafuego in New Zealand. But I am not. It has taken the unfluence of a few, including Ryan Holiday, that make me stay. As he put it there still has to be those who go back into the cave, bearing their philosopher’s burden to tell others about the truth.
I will stick around, for a while, but I will make it my own. I am already doing that, through independent study and research. At the very least, school has helped me to understand a few important things about the professional world:
1. To be recognized, to get into the offices where things happen, I have to be valuable. My social skills will only take me so far in that endeavor – they will help tremendously but when the introduction stops there needs to be some substance. I have to have some tricks (knowledge) up my sleeve. Social pandering becomes sucking dick if I need something when I have nothing to offer.
2. Making myself valuable involves delving down those rabbit holes. My understanding of what graduate school means is pantamount to this – one’s thesis is that specific topic of interest they had after undergrad. I am doing my own research in two specific fields, one to make myself valuable as a professional, and another to accomplish a goal so dear to my soul.
3. Just trying, even a little bit, already puts one way above the rest. Putting in a little effort often yields above average results. What would putting in a lot of effort result in?
I have always hated the phrase “school teaches you how to learn.” I still do. I did fine learning on my own until I got here. What school has helped is in increasing my endurance. I used to skirt around many topics, without grinding on one for too long. By being forced to continue with something for a semester, I now have better intellectual endurance for a topic. One lesson that will persist, I am sure.
I am here, I will do well, but on my own terms.