I fucking hate jogging. There’s no clever way of saying it. Jogging is the absolute worst. There is nothing worse than jogging. It is pointless torture on the body and soul: you run, but you can’t run too fast or you won’t be able to run as long as you need to. You often have a destination, but you’re just going to fucking end up where you started. You have to buy fancy shoes so you don’t vibrate your shins to pieces, and the only practical application for those shoes outside jogging is other things similar to jogging, like hiking, or biking, or walking kinda quickly. At least you can ride a bike to get to work. Nobody has ever thought it a worthwhile pursuit to jog to their job. That would be like refusing to fill your car with gas before a long road trip: a useless expenditure of energy for something that uses up even more energy.
I don’t jog. I used to, but I’ve grown as a person since that time, and I know that even I do not deserve that kind of suffering. However, for the last two years, I’ve been in grad school, a horrible rhythmic trudge if ever there was one. Grad school was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Also like jogging, I’m probably better off for having gotten my degree, but there were probably others that would have delivered me to the same place with a little less suffering. But I did it. I did the suffering, and now I’m done. I’m out. I’ve napped multiple times this week. Nobody has graded any of my work in over a month. I don’t cringe at the idea of reading anymore. I’m healing. I’m becoming a person again. My life is my own after so many years of relentless school.
But I’ve been thinking.
Which, historically, is a problem.
What if I could go for another short, easy jog. Maybe even just a bike ride.
What if I went back and got another degree?
I don’t read a lot of my own writing. I find the prose overwrought and the author is weird. But I did read all the posts I wrote complaining about grad school, and I noticed that most of my complaints were not with grad school itself, they were with my insane program that forced me to decipher esoteric grading requirements, post to discussion boards every night, and read articles that I think were written to be deliberately dense and inaccessible because academic elitism is alive and well if you look in the right place.
So as long as I don’t do another program like that, I could be fine. In fact, I could probably enjoy myself. There was one class in particular that I enjoyed with the innocent pleasure of a toddler with a ring of keys. That class also happened to be far outside my degree plan. It was a creative writing class, and I got to write goofy, sad stories about my life and space and commercials and homeless children. Nothing like rhetoric, but a fantastic time. I might do that, get a degree in creative non-fiction.
I love writing more than almost anything else, including alcohol, cats, and tea. So I might go back to school in a year or two because I want writing to be what I do. I want to be better than I am and have a piece of paper to testify to that. I don’t think it’s school that makes life miserable; it’s the specific courses and work we have to do, and if I can find a program that doesn’t make me feel like a mouse pushing a mountain, then maybe school can be a good time again.
And School owns me anyway. I’m a teacher, so why not keep taking classes until I’ve got more degrees than I can remember and better credentials than I’ll ever need.