Friday, December 3, 2010

The end of tutorials

Well, today I had my last tutorial. I finished Victorian literature with Dr. Plaskitt last week, but this week I had my last Shakespeare tutorial with Dr. Thorpe. We discussed As You Like It, and looked at how strong of a woman Rosalind is. We talked about Shakespeare for a bit, but as usual we branched off onto other topics. We talked about Oxford and the kind of opportunities it provides, but how it's kind of a one of a kind place, an "island city," not only because it is almost entirely surrounded by rivers, but because it is intellectually set apart.
I've realized that returning from here is going to be harder than I thought...not exactly because I will miss the constant papers, or even the city itself (though I certainly will miss it) but because I will be back in the real world. The real world isn't a house full of intellectuals, the real world isn't Philosophy around the dinner table and speaking to nearly anyone in the house about Shakespeare and having them understand. The real world isn't walking in the snow at midnight while some of you talk about Wiggenstein's possible worlds, and others talk about how they will take up space on bookshelves in Borders with all the books they will write. Dr. Thorpe talked about Oxford as the Island City, but I guess what I kind of feel like is that sometimes being an educated academic makes you part of an Island generation.
That sounds so utterly snobby, and that kind of disgusts me, because that is exactly what I don't want to be. I don't want to come back acting like a snob because 'I've been to Oxford!' or act like some sort of elitist. I'm so very pre-disposed to have a snobby attitude too. So many people have thought I am a snob upon first meeting me. But the fact of the matter is, most of the world has not had the experiences I have had, has not read the things I have and doesn't think about the things I do, simply because they aren't academics. How do I reinsert myself into real life? How do I become a real person, and not just a white, upper middle class, intellectual, who has had many life experiences but doesn't really understand life? I don't want to be one of college kids who talk about poverty, and have visited a third-world country, but really have seen nothing of suffering, or think they have answers to real world problems because they've read about them in a book, or on some pretentious person's blog. I don't want to be the person who can read a philosopher and consider his ideas, but some how can't learn to relate to someone who might not be as educated as myself. I don't want to be an Island, mentally sneering at people who don't know who Virginia Woolf is. But it's difficult, because these topics, these authors, these ideas, this way of being, is something that I love. It's a lonely thought to think that unless I stay inside an academic bubble, unless I ignore the majority of world, I will not be able to often discuss the things I love. And I can't ignore the rest of the a Christian that isn't even an option, and I really don't want to do that either. It will take some deliberate and purposeful action on my part to make sure I don't become an elitist.

That was all kind of angsty and all that, so I apologize. I'm not actually in deep emotional and mental turmoil over this, but it is something that I've been thinking about, and realizing that I need to deal with a little bit. Don't worry, I have interests beyond academics...for instance, in about 2 seconds I am going to watch Crocodile Dundee, and I am just as excited about it as I am about reading To the Lighthouse.


  1. Hey that was me....dang Hope didn't sign off....

    'ats the spirit mate! Ole Dundee will shake dat stuffy academia out of ya!