I miss school– even the books without pictures.

The best thing about college, for me, was the ability (in fact, requirement) to take varying courses outside of my chosen disciplines. I studied English and Dance at university. Dance because I’ve been in love with dancing since I was small. There was no doubt in my mind that dance would need to be a part of my life for as long as possible, and, upon graduating high school, I knew I loved working with kids, so I saw myself as a teacher. It was my intention to get my BFA in Dance and a bachelor’s degree in some form of education, preferably elementary.

After my first semester, I realized that the two degree programs weren’t terribly compatible and it would take me 6+ years to finish, which wasn’t something I really wanted, especially since my scholarship only covered five years. So I thumbed through the course catalog and debated heavily between Philosophy, English, and Spanish. I’ve loved writing my whole life, and I love language. I decided on English with the intention of teaching high school some day. I ended up with an emphasis in creative writing, because I apparently can’t get out of the artsy side of myself. 😉

So here I am, working in retail and teaching dance classes to make money while I pursue unpaid to barely paid performance opportunities. I don’t write too much, at least not formally, but I still read and write a bit. I read nearly constantly. I can’t say I read books cover to cover. My reading isn’t easily quantified, but I read blogs and articles online, and I pick up random books and read bits and pieces until my mind wanders off on a new topic.

I’ve been out of school for a little over a year, and the what-am-I-doing-with-my-life question keeps popping up again and again. This post was spurred by my attempt to google studies or disciplines that encompass both the Humanities and CS-STEM. The problem is I love to learn. I like to put the puzzles of the universe together. I like to go down that rabbit hole again and again and see if I can’t go deeper or in a different direction each time.

I realized, my last year of college, so close to graduating that there was no way I could justify changing or adding a major or minor, that I loved linguistics. I saw linguistics as a melding of science, math, language, and culture. Just that sentence alone gets me excited. Now that I’ve been out of school, longing for that intellectual stimulation, I’ve started looking into linguistics and found myself traveling down the path of cognitive studies. I’m particularly interested in psycholinguistics (or neurolinguistics, I’m not sure exactly which is the one or if there is a professionally recognized difference). I wonder, though, if there are any other cross-discipline studies that encompass the many areas of scholarship.

I just like recognizing that everything is interconnected, and I want to find a way to explore that. Studying the human mind, consciousness, the way we think and behave, that touches on all sorts of things: philosophy, anthropology, history, math, science, physics, sociology, etc. I love that. I don’t know what I could possibly to do with it, or the why or how of it, but I do know that I need it.

I wish there was an easier way for people like me to find their passion. Personally, I just want to be sure. My problem was that, with every course I took, I could see myself doing and enjoying a profession related to it. I have too many interests, and I know the majority of people aren’t like that.

Most of my friends and fellow classmates complained about being forced to take classes outside of their interests. I didn’t understand that. Or, at least, I understood, but couldn’t relate.

Alice asks, what’s the point of a book without pictures? You can look at this in several ways of course. She’s a child, and it’s a very child-like thing to say. However, what’s the point of symbols without something to symbolize? What’s the point of sticking to one form of expression when there are so many others? And what’s the point of being so committed to one way of thinking, one road to travel down, that you miss the many other ways of seeing the same thing and the many other paths, or not yet existing paths, that interconnect and explore that world?

This is a conversation I’d like to have.


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