Literature, Remembered

Last night I spent some time reviewing my college transcripts, looking for insight into myself and trying to figure out what other areas I could expand my job search into when I return to California. While I didn’t really find the inspiration I was seeking, I did find one startling fact that I’d forgotten about.

I took several depressing literature courses in college.

Maybe I can blame my eventual entry into therapy on these classes, or maybe I subconsciously sought them out. I maintain that I took the courses that fit my scheduling needs, but it is rather incredible to review the list.

In two years, I took

  • Trauma Literature (Post 1945 American Lit)
  • Elegies
  • Literature of Affliction
  • Fitzgerald and Faulkner
  • 19th Century Humor and Satire

One winter quarter I had Elegies and Trauma Lit back to back on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I remember that being a particularly rough quarter academically, though I was glad to share those courses with many good friends. I wondered at the time whether the professors who taught at my university were particularly obsessed with dark writers and themes. Now, I really don’t know what explains this list, especially with the humor thrown in at the end.

I cannot help but think that majoring in English was a rather poor decision for my 18 year old self to make. It doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of job security due to its irrelevance to practical matters. I think these classes offered me insight into what it means to be human, for all of the emotions and messiness that are involved in the state of our existence here. Other than empathy, I don’t know that these works offer me much to give to others, but I’ve got them tucked away on my transcript anyway.

Social Service work is challenging. It means coming face to face with inequality, pain, and struggle each and every day. It means constantly fighting the fact that we live in a broken world, and yet never giving up that fight because you believe in a better tomorrow. My “better tomorrow” is a place where it doesn’t rain every day.

Looks like I’ve still got to wait a while before my better tomorrow is my real tomorrow.

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