Thursday, October 03, 2013

Blog 1: Fears ‘n Such/Shelley Williams/Fall 2013/Engl 3840

Ultimately, I am most afraid of not learning enough in this course to make this course, my tutoring time and experience, fruitful in the long run. In other words, I’ve made this journey before at a writing center, tutoring, have taught composition, have an advanced degree but little to show for it as compared with others with the same degree. The tendency to compare oneself to peers in the same boat is a strong one; however, most times I find I cannot indulge in this pity-fest because I am in a boat of one.  I have lost touch with peers who went through a degree program at the same time as me, and I don’t suspect I’d want to report my mish mash of experience to them even if that were not the case. Telling my story to the collectors of information to a high school reunion was uncomfortable enough.

Bottom line: Will it have been worth it after all, when I am a pinned and wriggling insect on a wall at the end? Students, the professor of every course, this one included, and I, evaluate me in every present moment. Except we wouldn’t worry so much about what others are thinking of us if we knew how infrequently they think of us. But, it is fair to say analyzing and assessing/evaluating is part of academia and part of life. What worries or concerns me is whether, to be cliché, I’ll cut the mustard, yes, but also whether, even doing so sufficiently well, what gain this will win me in a long-term employment vein. Though I love learning for its own sake and with it, gleaning hopefully some wisdom, which I think is possible from every tutor/tutee exchange, I suppose I long for the old American dream even if tinged with the new American reality—i.e., if not a house, 2.5 children, a dog and/or cat, at least the ability to be self-sufficient again. As the old Jiffy Lube commercials used to say, “We don’t want to change the world, we just want to change your oil.” I’d settle for the latter, but I know in so saying I am indeed settling because I know that writing and writing well, has the power to change the world. The power of the pen is mightier than the sword. So far, my wielding of it and helping others wield it, has been more self-transforming than world changing, but the world is made up of individual souls, and so, I must be content with whatever I gain or give, in the course of this course and through my tutoring running this semester’s course.


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