When I first attended PAX in 2009, I had already been a fan of the comic for around six years. The business model that Mike and Jerry had of creating content and giving it away for free was inspiring to me, I loved their response to Jack Thompson, I was a staunch supporter of their charity, and I just generally wanted to meet them. I had an absolutely amazing time, and I knew I wanted to go back.
Almost a year and a half ago, I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and a minor in Creative Writing. It took me eight and a half years, and it was sometimes hard to find the motivation to finish. My job at the time only required an Associates or equivalent number of college hours. I had learned everything I needed to learn. There wasn’t any reason to finish other than to get the credentials.
I’m flying out to PAX in Boston in a mere seven and a half hours, and the only electronics I am taking are my Kindle and my iPhone. I’m going to try something new this time around and blog exclusively through my phone, but I won’t be doing it here.
I feel like the reality of it being a new year is just settling in for me. This is not just a year, though, this is the year. This one is going to count for something.
For starters, I’m going to get my bachelor’s degree.
As many have noticed, I’m not at PAX. It’s a sad state of affairs, but our finances just didn’t make it this year and we’ll have to pay higher taxes next year, so a big trip right before tax-time seemed unwise.
Despite that, I’m already making plans for next year. April and I are charting a vacation in March over Spring Break that will take us to Oostberg, Wisconsin. From there, we’ll hit Chicago, and then we’ll hop over to Boston for PAX East.
Some friends of ours just moved to Oostberg so the husband of the duo could become the pastor of a church there, so we’re going to fly to Milwaukee, take a bus to Sheboygan, and see if they’ll pick us up there. On the return trip, after they get us to Sheboygan, we’ll take a train to Chicago where we’ll spend a couple of days. Flying from Chicago to Boston is only $100 a ticket, so we’ll hop on over a few days before PAX to explore the city.
I’ve got some work stuff going on that might result in a raise, so I’m hoping to manage both PAX East and PAX Prime next year, though attending Prime will be just a quick jaunt to Seattle for a three day party. The last time I attended PAX Prime it was a two week vacation for me, but since we’ll be doing Boston in March I won’t be able to afford two long vacates. A lot of people I met at PAX only attend Prime, so I’d really like to go there, but the timing is more difficult. PAX Prime is right after our fall semester starts, and since I work at a University it’s hard to get away. Spring Break for PAX East is a bit more convenient.
For those of you at PAX this year, I hope you all have a blast. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there, but hopefully we’ll see each other next year in the holy land. Have fun and stay safe!
My frustration about school and the attendance thereof has only become more pointed as this year has progressed. We’re barely a month into the semester and my two classes have been infuriating. One is Children’s Literature and is essentially, “How to teach literature to children between the ages of two and five,” which is definitely not how it was described in the course catalog. The other is The Life and Thought of Martin Luther King Jr. and we have yet to discuss the good doctor, let alone his life and/or thoughts. We have instead been treated to many rambling and often racist stories by our professor, unclear expectations and assignments, and a litany of “extra credit” opportunities that often manage to involve attending his church.
The real issue is that these classes, and most any classes for that matter, prevent me from pursuing my dreams in the here and now. I can’t write when I’m taking two classes a semester. There are two reasons for this:
- My work requires a lot of time dealing with people, particularly in management situations. For someone as introverted as me, this is mentally and emotionally exhausting. I already have a regularly scheduled game night on Fridays that takes some of my energy, and when you add in two classes for a total of three days a week, each requiring twelve to fifteen hours of extroversion, I’m wiped out. Deeper thought and the writing that would come out of it aren’t reasonable in those circumstances.
- Because of the previous issue, I use class as an excuse to not do work. Part of me recognizes that I’d completely burn out and have a nervous breakdown if I pushed myself much harder than I do and forced myself to do a lot of work and writing during my limited downtime, but I can’t ignore that this an excuse, not a reason. Ideally, I would be able to do everything, but that’s not feasible in real life. If I try to do everything, I’ll fail at everything. Being in class keeps me focused on the problem, not the solution. The solution is simple, but I’ve been too wrapped up in the problem to admit it.
It’s not the classes themselves, or even the six hours a week they take. It’s the poor state the entire schedule leaves me in. Six hours isn’t much, but the long days they lead to makes achieving my dreams impossible.
So I’m done. As of this semester, I was only enrolled for one reason: to be able to attend PAX ’10. I won’t be able to afford to go if I have to start paying on student loans, and if I’m not enrolled in six hours of classes a semester I’ll have to start paying. As much as it sucks to not go, though, I’d rather be happy and fulfilled 362 days of the year than have 3 days of revelry and good times with friends. My year and my life isn’t worth that.
I’ve already got the line item in and our budget balanced to accept this.
I’m not saying I’m dropping out entirely. When I see a night class that’s 300-level or above that looks interesting, I’ll take it. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the 2-3 classes I have left to finish my major and minor. I’ll probably take some graduate-level courses too (since they satisfy the Upper-Division Credit Hour requirement), though never more than one a semester, if they look fascinating and challenging. But I’m done with playing the game, staying enrolled for no good reason.
I realized last night what I want to do with my life in regards to work. It’s going to take a few years to get that set up, but I’m good with long-term plans. I’m tired of not starting, though. I’ve been feeling dissatisfied with college for four years now, and it’s time to do something about it.
I’ve been keeping up with blogging and publishing better this fall, even better than I had expected, but maybe you want to see some pictures, or maybe (for some reason we won’t discuss) you don’t check in often. It is for you that I carefully, gently, and with great love craft this newsletter.
If you’d like to receive this newsletter regularly, I’d suggest you drop your email in the bucket to get a copy when it comes out. Of course, they’ll show up here in the regular RSS feed as well, or you can subscribe to an RSS feed designed especially for them.
Download and/or view SilverPen News – Winter 2009.