Yeah, it’s been a while. I’d apologize for that, but it would be a lie. To be honest, 2010 was a pretty bad year. The first half was actually pretty good- I was happier than I had been in a long, long time. But then things went to shit, and when they went to shit, they really went to shit. Plans and ideas went by the wayside, projects were left unfinished, and I didn’t get book two completed.
It was ugly.
But I woke up on January 1st feeling clean. I had undergone a catharsis as 2010 fucked off out the door, and I knew it was time to get back on top of things, particularly because at the end of the year I had applied for, and was accepted to, a Masters program. For the first time since 1993, I was going to be fully committed to being in school.
I’m almost done with one class, as it is crunched into an eight-week period, and to say that I’m happy about it would be an understatement. It’s different this time. I’m different. I’m finding myself committed to this in a way I never was before.
Look, I’ll be blunt: growing up, it all came really easy to me. I had to put little to no effort into getting high grades. I’m not (I swear) bragging, but I was blessed with a high level of intelligence, and one of the ways it worked for me was that I had a strong intuitive grasp of material put in front of me. (Still generally do.) I didn’t need to study- I could show up, essentially download the answers out of my personal random access memory, and ace whatever was on the agenda.
One of the great things about that time was that I was surrounded by others like me. Billy, Eric, Tina, Jill… extraordinary, gifted people. Thinking about it now, I realize what a privilege it was to have been their contemporary. Priceless. But I also know that they weren’t all like me, either. Our gifts worked differently. Some of them were putting real effort and caring into their work, pushing themselves to be the best they could be.
I was generally phoning it in. I know now that it was disrespectful to the job they were doing, but back then I didn’t see it. I didn’t care about anybody but myself.
When I got to ASU, my academic malaise remained. A rough first semester kicked me in the pants, and after that I pulled myself together, but I still didn’t really care as much as I should have. Why spend more time getting a 4.0 that semester when I could have fun and still get a 3.5? The way I pissed away my potential is ridiculous. I’m embarrassed at what an asshole I was.
And now here I am, back in school again. I’ve been teaching as a professor at ASU since 2009 on top of being a research professional and instructional specialist for the libraries, and I decided that I want to push myself more in the teaching direction. I like working with students, I like engaging with them, and I love seeing what happens when they put the pieces together and get it. You can’t pay for a satisfying moment like that. It’s wondrous. Way better than anything I get out of my day job. But I also want to broaden my horizons as a teacher- I would like to teach writers. I want to help others find their voice, they way my writing professors helped me.
That means getting a different degree. Thus: Masters program starting this semester.
Now that I’m doing it, though, I’m dedicating myself to doing it right. I want to test myself and see what I am capable of. I want to give effort, if only to show that I can. I want to live up to the example that my friends (and to be blunt, my teachers) set for me, and show them the respect now that I didn’t back then.
I’m not going to settle for “good enough.”
Only being The Best will do.