06 March 2009

The winter of discontent

When I was in college, my senior year, I was trying to get a minor in Religious Studies and took a class on the Holocaust. I am thinking about it again as one of the youtube channels I watch is engaged in a dialog of sorts with a white supremacists who is also a Holocaust denier, but, as I thought about it, I didn't remember much of the class except watching films on the third floor of Old Main at night.

It was the winter of my senior year and I was just beginning to realize that it wasn't going to work out: my whole life plan that I was set on since I was 16, more-or-less. The Holocaust class just reinforced all the feelings I was having about the senseless nature of life and how religion wasn't really answering any of my questions. I remember hearing about the cognitive dissonance that was needed in the German soldiers to shoot Jews in the woods. I remember the professor of the class, Penny Gold, whose parents were dying and whose husband was ill and who was a Jew. I remember walking home in the dark after the videos were finished, across the quad in the snow on a clear night.

My whole college career was sort of like this. I finished all of my required courses before I even went to Knox, with the exception of one which I don't remember right now. So at the beginning of every semester I took one or two of my required English courses and then something else that interested me. Intro. to Social Movements. The Holocaust. Faulkner 350, which about four or five of us just created because we wanted to read Faulkner with a professor we liked. There was nobody telling me what I had to do.

Now I am here, at my desk at the OU, still doing what I want more-or-less and still not really feeling like I'm learning anything. That's not to say I'm not — ask me about questionnaire research or interview as a form of data collection or literary metaphor and I'll start spouting opinions I didn't have six months ago. It just doesn't feel like I thought it would.