:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood:
current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

woensdag 17 januari 2007

So I got so wrapped up in stripping the Christmas tree this morning (what portions of it the cat hadn't already shredded, that is) that I missed my bus. During the 40-minute walk to class, I started thinking - something I haven't had a lot of time to do since classes started up again - and the topic was Persian. In case this hasn't already come through perfectly clearly on this blog: I don't like Persian. At all. I've liked the vast majority of the languages I've studied, with the sole exception of Wolof, so I assumed I'd like Persian okay too - so I enrolled, to try to make myself a more attractive candidate for NSA. Now, however, the NSA's Language Enhancement Program (which I was going to apply to) has been abolished, meaning linguists without fluency in a security-sensitive language just got their options MAJORLY limited. The website is now recruiting only those with proficiency. I can, and might, still apply for a Cryptanalysis position, but the option I'd been aiming for since junior year, the option where I would have gotten the majority of my training through the agency itself, is now gone. That means, in all likelihood, that a second semester of Persian wouldn't have any effect whatsoever on my chances of being taken onboard, because it wouldn't put me a whole heck of a lot closer to being a native speaker. They'd still have to spend a ton of time and money on training me. And even if by some wild chance a second semester did work in my favor, and it did get me in the door, and they did somehow agree to train me further, well, then what would that mean? That I'd be using Persian every day of my career for the next 40 years. And I don't like it. One thing I've learned through my years of college is that I don't actually like every language out there. I used to think 'one code is the same as another', in a manner of speaking, meaning any language could be 'cracked' equally, and with an equal amount of pleasure on my part. Well, that's not the case, as I learned when I took that Wolof course. I loved Dutch, we all know that. I enjoyed Spanish a lot too. Latin was awesome, and even French held my interest. German would have been fun, also. But Wolof? And Persian? I just don't like it.

So I think I'm going to drop the class. It just feels like the right thing to do, like a relief from a burden I didn't know I was carrying. I pushed through last semester, just to see how it would go, but there's virtually no reason for me to be in it anymore, career- or education-wise. And since I don't have the internal drive to learn it the way I did with some of the languages I studied in the past, I don't see why I should bother to stick with it. Dropping it is something of a sign that I need to do some reexamining as to where I'm going when I finish this program, but if that's the case, then so be it. I was already becoming aware that I'm less and less interested in a government position with every passing day. What I am interested in, I can't quite say, at least not yet. Some of the options that have crossed my mind recently are Ph.Ds in various fields (English lit, Sociolinguistics, Creative Writing...), but a Ph.D would essentially require that I spend the rest of my life in academia, and I want to wait and see how the TAship goes next year - whether I enjoy teaching or not - before I make that call. PA school has also crossed my mind - a way to do medicine without going through a thousand years of school - but that decision too will have to wait, until the end of the EMT course. Other, goofier options, like an administrative position at a summer camp, are floating around up there too, but those are just misty, half-formed thoughts at this point.

We'll see. That's really all I can say at this point.

In the meantime? I want to focus on Phonology, Historical Linguistics, and Language Acquisition. I want to read my 1300-page EMT book and get a feel for that field. I want to swim with the club team three nights a week. I want to start the process for becoming a linguistics TA next year, and study until I feel like I have a confident grasp on the field again. I want to run three days a week. I want to start lifting weights again. I want to play loud music, eat junk food, spend weekends at the beach with Liz, go out dancing, watch movies, have a little fun. And I want to casually explore new areas, new courses, new schools, new ideas - without feeling pressured to pick one and have a new Life Road Map as quickly as possible.

I mean, really - I'm 22. I'm not supposed to have every detail of my life planned out through retirement, am I? Liz and I have had multiple conversations about how graduate school is supposed to be like this, supposed to kick our asses, supposed to make us reevaluate ourselves and what we want out of life - so I actually don't feel too panicked, although that usually is my initial response to life throwing curve balls at me that deviate from my 'best-laid plans'. I will find what I'm supposed to be doing. Someone with my smarts, my varied interest areas, and my passion for life isn't going to just 'settle' for something I'm less than ecstatic about. I have to believe that there is something out there that will hook me, that I'll love doing, that will get me excited to wake up every morning and go out into the world. I will find it. It just may take a little longer than I'd hoped.

((Oh yeah, the half marathon. It was awesome - Monique and I both RAN the ENTIRE race, no walking, and all I had afterwards was a little muscle tightness and general fatigue, none of this can't-walk-for-a-week crap that happened after the River Run. There were bands, photographers, and costumed characters lining the course, drivers and spectators shouting encouragement, and cool gimmicks like 'speaker tunnels' where one could pick a chute to run through depending on what kind of music s/he wanted to hear for those two minutes or so. I finished in 3 hours exactly. Very very very cool race, and yes, I'm quite proud of myself. Wonder how long it'll be before I get up the guts to try a full marathon? LOL.)


Blogger Eric Zelko said...

Could you please contact me. I have never seen anything like you or your blog. This is stunning. I live in Chapel Hill and my family has a home in Vero Beach, FL. I am shocked.

25/1/07 23:32  

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