I am writing to you now at the end of battle before a final, decisive moment in my academia comes to pass. The war has been fought thoroughly with few casualties, but there are losses and gains that will be remembered for years to come. I bravely stepped into Dr. Kim's arena to fight my best, but was met with significant defeat that still stings. Yet, my close reading of "The Waste Land" stands as an astonishing breath of potential success. The final to match it, for Dr. Knickerbocker's closely reading poems course, was one that I feel great confidence about. We are still waiting on reports from the front lines, however.
All in all, the past week and a half has been a loud storm mixed with ominous undercurrents. I've managed to finish my poetry portfolio in order to apply to M.F.A programs, but I am also behind on ensuring The College of Idaho has a literary journal. A surprise attack did come in, however, with a poor performance on Minskoff's final juxtaposed to an excellent final essay grade. Despite well-crafted words, that blow may prove to bring me down substantially.
Yet, it was Dr. Kim who imparted some astounding wisdom. This entire time I have been fearful and terrified through the great academic war. My grades are very dear to me, something I saw as a nation of myself. This is not the case, however. I am not the sum of my GPA. I am the sum of my parts. A's and B's do not rule the self, the self rules A's and B's. She reassured me that it matters more who I am, though mistakes such as these cannot be taken lightly.
So I stand before the final final. Dr. Schaper's course has had amazingly thoughtful content, but without a study guide I do not know how prepared I am. Oscar Wilde and I have been good friends, same with Charles Dickens. It is my hope that these Victorian ghosts have my back on the exam. Reinforcements would be deeply useful in this final act.
Yet, I have kept dreaming. I dream of the day after, where I can sit amidst my Boston terrier again and finish the season finale of Doctor Who. I dream of winter, where I will learn about World War I to humble my own complaints and weird Shakespeare for laughter and appreciation. I dream of spring, with four writing workshops that are all after noon. The insomniac shall thrive once more, and no such academic war will see itself repeated.
To you, the kindly reader, I wish you the best before I charge into pen and paper combat. Academia requires a considerable amount of preparation and organization at The College of Idaho if you truly wish to succeed. There are those that look for loopholes, and I am guilty of such action on occasion, but to do so simply demeans the experience. We may suffer, not must suffer, for our passions. We will also grow from practicing these principles of posterity. What is it to read without comprehending? What is it to think without acting? What is it to speak without feeling? To be prepared is to be autonomous and diplomatic in the face of academic war; a much cleaner, productive path than the cram war in which I am partially entrenched.
Should I make it to the other side, which I likely will (Though not unscathed), I aspire to practice this diplomatic and productive approach in lieu of frantic skirmishes. We ought to be more considerate of ourselves and our futures, less Freud's id swallow all the potential.
Austin D. Kirkham
Austin is a Senior creative writing major at The College of Idaho