I have not taken any tests this year. Instead, I have written papers – dozens of them. I have thrown my heart and soul into paper-writing. Dave Eggers claims one heart-breaking work of staggering genius, but I believe that I’ve written seven or eight of them in the last couple months.
What do I have to show for it? A bunch of a B+’s, that’s what. I’ve found it exceptionally frustrating. This afternoon, I was considering doing something drastic like becoming a Math major. What could possibly be going wrong?
I looked back over some of my work, and I believe I’ve found the answer: I reach too far. I want to discover the conclusive, deductive proofs for capitalism and for transcendent morality which have been dogging mankind for centuries. In the process, I play fast and loose with logic. I skip over the foundations of my arguments so that I can get to the big picture. I build beautiful cathedrals on shaky foundations, and as a result, the work collapses.
Henceforth, I will not try to change the world with every paper I write. Instead, I will pound out papers. They will be dull, but functional, like a trusty Volkswagen. To satisfy my artistic leanings, I’ll have to make time for creative writing. This should also cut down on the time and emotion that it takes me to do my homework.
I know that I have the talent to compete at this school. I know that I came here to get broken down, and this is my first truly important lesson. We learn the most when we are the humblest, and being humble requires more emotional strength than anything else. It means bending but not breaking. It means not needing to assert dominance over others to feel good about ourselves. It means knowing that we’re not perfect but loving ourselves just the same.