Warm weather is finally here, it seems, and it is wonderful. Yesterday the temperature broke 30°C for the first time this year, and in celebration I went out for ice cream with Christie, Polly, Devon and Evan. After polishing off a waffle cone dripping with butter pecan and black raspberry, we drove down to Scudder’s Falls and swam in the Delaware. There were bugs everywhere, and we found a snake slithering around in the water. Luckily I managed to avoid getting sunburned and snakebitten.
The one downside to this weather is that school is unfortunately still in session. I have more work now, what with finals coming up, than I have all semester, and at the same time (though I wouldn’t have thought it possible) even less inclination to do any of it. I just can’t shake the feeling that none of it means anything, really. In two years what will it matter if I got a good grade on a paper on Leibniz and the Problem of Evil? Until recently much of what I thought of as my life existed abstractly as little numbers in teachers’ gradebooks and collections of binary data saved on hard drives. I’ve measured much of my success as a person with a standard that lacks any real existence. It’s not that I don’t see value in education, I just think that the practice of quantifying progress with graded assignments forces a somewhat arbitrary distinction between one’s education and one’s life. It makes learning a job, school an ordeal that must be met with and conquered as a prerequisite for “success.” As someone who genuinely enjoys learning (and who was at times identified only as “the smart kid” in gradeschool), I’ve often felt that I’d somehow be less of a person if I failed to make the grade. This is simply not true. Education is not a process with a clearly defined start or finish; it doesn’t begin when the school bell rings and it doesn’t end at graduation. It is a process that is coextensive with life itself. “I think, I am.” not “I think until I graduate, then I am.”