Aug 05, 2020

The end: Assessing my education

I was scouring the recesses of my mind, as well as the annals of the Internet for a great quote about “the end.”

It’s the conclusion of the semester, and subsequently, the end of my undergraduate career. I’ve run the gamut, and yet, I’ve only done so in four and half years. 

Junior college was fantastic. Shout out to Merced College!

Oddly enough I started out majoring in history, then, three weeks into my freshman year, I switched to agricultural business. From there I planned to go into crop production.

To this end, I began working for a crop adviser, which basically meant being a grunt who walks around gathering tissue and soil samples from fields in the ghastly dampness and horrible heat of the San Joaquin Valley. But, it is better than working inventory at Walmart, so that was nice.

(Also, I forgot to mention, I worked at Southern Baptist camp during the summer of 2010. It was brief and not all that enjoyable. I met 11 great people. The end.)

Somehow I ended up at The Collegian. Via luck, fate and a radio-news internship, I guess I seemed qualified to work here.

Looking back, so many of my decisions in college were centered on “the future.” If you notice, I mentioned nothing about tailgates, being a drunky-bear or any extra-curricular involvement.

Don’t get me wrong, those have all happened. Yet, the stuff of the past four years that stands out in mind seems to involve the jobs I’ve had, the grades I earned and majors I chose. All of which came to fruition through a strange combination of fate, luck and calculated planning.

For example, when I applied for junior college I declared myself a history major, but I didn’t take any history classes, plus I took an agricultural business class to fulfill a social science prerequisite. I had a hankering to major in some agricultural science, but didn’t come from a farming background, so I didn’t want to be foolish, going full-bore into something I knew very little about.

My plan paid off. I made many friends in Merced College Division of Agriculture and found great success as an agriculture student.

When I transferred to Fresno State, I wanted to study Classics—even though I didn’t exactly understand what that entailed. I guess I didn’t quite grasp it requires becoming a proficient reader of a very dead language. In my case, I concentrated on Attic Greek — the stuff that Sophocles and Aristotle used, so yeah, I guess it’s not very useful.

Just kidding! It is incredibly useful!

All joking aside, I’m forever glad and grateful for my foray into Greek study. Learning one of the classic languages of Western Civilization has helped my writing, my understanding of grammar and history, not to mention improved my general mental cognition.

Reading Attic Greek is akin to doing a really bizarre Sudoku-crossword-word search, but with weirdo-alien letters and confusing verb tenses.

And then there’s my majoring in history. I thought I wanted to be an attorney. Turns, out that would have been terrible.  I did six weeks of LSAT study and realized I was miserable, so law school would have been like a self-inflicted, three-year detour through Hades.

Also, I don’t want to teach.

What to do, then? The gal who spent years planning her success with a luck/fate/planning cocktail, hasn’t a real solid clue about a future career.

My junior year of high school, I told everyone I was going to be a shrimp boat captain. They thought I was kidding. Well, everyone except my mom — that’s a testament to the innate wisdom and intuition possessed by good mothers, like mine!

I’ve been told I will be a history professor — though my history professors would probably disagree (yuck yuck yuck!). Some have said I would do well in sales, which is either a great compliment, a cryptic insult or just some really general pleasantries tossed my way.

I’ve learned so much about the world, the communities around me, the people with whom I interact, and thus I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I’m very much unsure about the road ahead, but I’m not worried. I have a great job lined up, and I’ll be planning a wedding, so life is good!

The luck/fate/planning formula has worked well thus far, so why not add a dash of “surprise me!” and wait for the best possible conclusion.

No matter the twists and turns, it will never be said I didn’t receive an education. In fact, I received more than the average college education.

I’ve translated the book of Revelation from Greek into English. I’ve written more papers and essays than I can count. I’ve participated in a national collegiate landscape horticulture competition and walked miles of cotton and alfalfa fields counting caterpillars and weeds (for the purpose of pest control. No one just does that).

I’ve been a news editor, an opinion editor, a radio copywriter, a canoe guide and learned that history—especially one’s own—should never be painted as black and white.

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