Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Sunday, July 9, 2017

How Deep is My Well of Resilience?

I decided to really step out of my comfort zone during my second semester of college by signing up for a world literature course. I had taken the standard American Fiction literature class in my first term and thoroughly enjoyed it. I recall spending a couple of hours a week reading various short stories and poems, and then an hour a day in 3 weekly lectures, where the professor pointed out all the intricacies and hidden meanings that I had failed to grasp while reading my assignments. It was pretty cool for me to both be exposed to such a variety of fiction, and to start to learn to see deeper meaning and really gain a better understanding of what I was reading. That's what college is mostly about, right? Learning how to learn!

What made this world literature course so different from my American literature class was that it involved a great many more hours of reading some pretty intense compositions. We would only meet once a week for a 3 hour lecture on Monday evenings from 6PM to 9PM, but these lectures turned out to be seriously exhausting for me, both mentally and physically.  The professor had a reputation for being quite tough. After a relatively easy course load during my first semester, I may have been a bit naive about exactly how challenging this particular class would be. When I first scanned through the syllabus, it appeared our first week's assignment was to read the Old Testament! Fortunately it turned out that we didn't have to read the entire Old Testament in a week, but had a long list of selected passages, one of which was the complete Book of Job. This would be the subject of the first lecture. This was many years ago, before computers were ubiquitous and one could easily access summaries and analyses of anything online from sites like wikipedia. At that time, buying printed Cliff Notes was the only real source of this kind of info for the various novels and short stories in my assignments. However, my budget was already stretched quite thin, and I don't think I had spare money to buy Cliff Notes for this class.  I also remember having almost no free time that spring, spending hours and hours every day reading, with barely anytime left to do my calculus homework. Fortunately for me, math was easy!

Building bridges isn't easy and it takes a long time!
Want to know what's really hard. Building bridges!