I am deep into my first quarter at UW and can I LOVE IT. My biopsych class is everything I’d hoped it would be AND MORE. At the very last minute (as in, a couple days into the start of the quarter), I wound up having to rearrange my schedule and swap out a class. My options at the time were limited but there WAS an art history class that fit into my schedule. I had taken an intro to art history about 15 years ago, when I made my first attempt at college and it was one of the classes that left the biggest impression on me. I had really enjoyed that class and even insisted on going to the actual town of Guernika during a trip to Pais Vasco (the Basque Region of Spain) because I remembered studying Picasso’s “Guernica” in that class. Of all the textbooks I’ve kept since that time, my art history book (a massive, bohemoth monster of a book that actually weighs about 5 pounds) is still in my mother’s house with all my notes and my final exam. I always want to bring that book home with me when I visit my mom on the East Coast but I never seem to have 5 lbs to spare in my luggage. Next time, perhaps.
It’s interesting to look back on my past interests and where my focus is now. When I was in my late teens through mid to late 20s, I was all about artistic endeavors. I hung around with artists, art school students, art school graduates, art school dropouts, and even attended a form of art school for nearly a year (not the greatest of art schools but I DID take art and only art classes there!) … I watched every foreign film I could get my hands on. I once had aspirations of acting (I’d even gotten myself accepted for an audition for a special drama program at Temple University but stage fright got the better of me then.) I DID, however, play parts in several friends’ student films. Ha! When I first became interested in going to college, I also had fantasies of studying photography at Kutztown University in PA. (Photography, however, is still a hobby although that can be said about nearly everyone these days… thanks, Instagram!)
I am interested in SO MANY things now. Scrolling through lists of possible classes for various requirements is hard – it’s almost more interesting to note what I’m NOT interested in taking. Business classes, obviously. Architecture. Something surprising – I have no interest in theatre, acting, drama… nor Literature or Poetry classes. THIS is surprising since writing was once “my thing.” I had taken at least 5 or 6 English (composition, literary analysis, poetry) classes a lifetime ago.
Art history is fun and somewhat special because it’s in the art building and every time I walk into that building I feel inspired – not so much to want to create art or be involved in artistic endeavors again, but just inspired to remember a part of myself that I enjoyed. Although the class is also interesting, the instructor is engaging and fun to listen to… and best of all, it reminded me of a nearly lifelong desire to learn Latin. (One thing I was always interested in and still am – languages!) Unfortunately, I can’t take actual Latin 101 until next Fall (it’s only offered in the Fall) I DO plan on registering for two classes called “Bioscientific Vocabulary Building From Latin and Greek” and “Latin and Greek in Current Use”. Biopsych, for example – all the various parts of the brain and conditions that affect the brain – had tons of words based on Latin and Greek. So these classes will be VERY useful and give me a little taste of proper Latin to carry me through.
By most people’s standards, I’m doing very well in all my classes. By *my* standards, my last biopsych exam sucked. (Yes, I am an overachiever, why do you ask?) I have to try very hard to remind myself of some yoga teachings – specifically that of non-attachment and ego. In the past few years, I’ve become very attached to being a straight A student. I’ve let more than a little bit of my identity become wrapped up in that concept. To be fair, I never used to be – I’m just enjoying the fruits of lots of hard labor and what happens when I care and apply myself. I had it in me all this time, who knew! And also to be fair… while I can unravel my ego from the identity of “straight A student”… I’ll be applying to the Neurobiology program next year* and ya know… I kind of HAVE to be. Neuro is highly competitive. I’ve been told more than once that the university loves returning students (meaning: old! ha) and the fact that I’m not 19 or 20 or even IN my 20s will work FOR me and not against, that will not help me at all if I “only” have a 3.0 GPA. There’s only so much I can relax and let go of. (*I have to take several Bio and Chem classes as prereq’s to apply to the Neuro major. So that’s what I’m slowly doing now. Fortunately, if my first two biopsych exams are any indication – I actually do far better with chemistry concepts and energy than I do with plain anatomy and function. Yay!) Also – using my brain to learn about my brain… WOAH!
In the meantime, I am very much enjoying this journey. At least once a week, as I stroll from the bus stop across campus, I stop and think, “I still can’t believe I’m here.” I’m in awe of myself for getting here, for deciding I wanted to finish my degree at University of Washington and well… there I am!!