Sunday, January 10, 2010
Learning to Work, Loving the Work
For reasons I have yet to understand and would not have understood a year ago, I have discovered, when given the opportunity to lounge around the house and not be held responsible for any real work for a month, I am left feeling useless and lazy. Throughout the course of this winter break, if I was not dining with friends or flapping gums over useless topics or even just staring at a wide-screen in a theatre room as it emitted dazzling pictures and captivating sounds, I was at home, doing nothing. While the break was nice the first couple of weeks, the lounging around began feeling unjustified. I did not have a previous job to which I could return to fill some time as I remained in town, nor will anyone hire some college kid living in two places at once for one month, when half of the month I was incapable of even devoting to a part-time job.
So, as my time seems to be coming to an end here at home, I have been weighing over reasons why I want to stay at home and reasons why I need to go back to school. Of course, my list begins with the obvious: education. Through all the smudges of ink and lead I have washed off of my hands, so much so I have almost rubbed my hands dry, and all the money spent on books and regular supplies, I have grown accustomed to staying up through the next morning trying to finish papers, and being overloaded so much that once leisure comes on the weekends, I enjoy it even more than the average person--though it could probably be statistically proven the average American spends half of their lifetime on the couch. And as much as finals may stretch and strain the length of my mental endurance, without this work and the rewards reaped from it, I would not feel as accomplished afterward.
I will be waking up early tomorrow morning to leave and will hopefully arrive on campus at least an hour or so before my first class begins. (Which will be convenient considering I am not even sure where the class is located; I just pray it is on the first floor.) I never would have guessed, after a month, I would want to see campus again. The irony in all of this is, as I have been home, I have actually still had school on the brain. To help out and feel useful for once, I took up tutoring for a friend of mine in homeschooling. Even more ironical than the fact I am tutoring is I was tutoring the girl in algebra--the class I failed last semester. I did not allow the parents to know I failed algebra--I did not want them to worry. I know the basics, and I was able to help my friend get through all of her tests. Even better: I got paid for the small gig. While I thought all the math was mind-numbingly boring (even more boring than a "Terminator" film--which usually ends in me trying to find something sharp to jab in my eyes) committing to helping my friend get through her first semester of math and knowing I had a job to do made the week I did spend with those workbooks tolerable. I am just pleased to know I will not be making up the algebra course this semester. If I can help it, I want to put off looking at another calculator for awhile.
Aside from working hard and hardly working, I have found school is a much more relaxed place than home. (Go figure.) I am not asked where I am going. I am not asked with whom. The only time anyone ever wonders about my plans is if my roommate just feels curious or has not seen me all weekend and wants to know how I have been spending my time. She, unlike family, just likes the chit chat and does not expect any ulterior motives behind the "he" who might be included in one of my sentences, or the "where" of our gatherings. When, as many who know me understand, there is never an ulterior motive or anything borderline sexual with how I spend my time. Risque and cleverly adulterated opportunities do not arise very often, and if they do, I am more clever than it and hold my head about "who," "how," and "how far" a situation carries. While my parents will say they are just curious, at school, no one asks unless I bring up the issue. I like it that way. I am a private person, and I typically like to keep it as such. Family does not always seem to respect such a reality--might even feel offended. It is who I am, though. My roommate, hallmates, and friends understand it and respect it. Because of that, the feelings are reciprocated. It is a place of freedom and friends. I can be myself, and I can grow. And even that takes work.
While my father's figure disappearing into the distance might actually depress me for a minute, I am there because I have a job to do, a future to secure. I have dreams, and I want them fulfilled. Though my next scheduled break is not until my spring break in March, I might find at least one reason to sneak back home and spend a weekend with the family. Though I am enjoying being on my own, I need them as much as they need me.