Thursday, May 23, 2013

Graduate Life

On Sunday, my commencement speaker said all of the stereotypical things: "Congratulations, graduates," "Your liberal arts education will prove to be incredibly valuable," "Go change the world," blah blah blah.

What he didn't, but should have, said was: "Get ready for this next transition during which time you live at your parents' house and sit on your computer and read all day, because you will feel useless, lazy, and like a loser."

It's funny how being the depths and throes of a challenging and stressful semester, the end seemingly out of sight, will prompt one to want nothing more than a damn break. All I wanted was to be done, free... graduated. Now that it has been a week since my final final, I want nothing more than a schedule, a routine, a reason to leave the house. 

As a college graduate, I have to worry about obtaining a "real" full time job that will sustain me for at least a year. No more "summer jobs" or "little part time jobs." Because I am hoping to stick with the school district (in order to keep my fun, decent-paying part time job with the school district), whatever this job may be won't begin until the fall. And I have made the decision to not actively look for a summer job until I find a slightly more permanent job for September. This means I only work... on Fridays. 

Thus the completion of two novels in the past week. So, yay! There's positive outcome of being semi-jobless at your parents' house...

Holy god was this book fantastic. 

I may be one of the last book lovers in the world to have read this one, but for some reason I never did. I'm not quite sure why its genre is Young Adult because it certainly grapples with serious topics. And also? Let me just point out that teenagers are the ones who are mostly currently reading classic "adult" novels like Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye. 

Anyway, there are a lot of things I like about this book, but one of those things is that it constantly brought my attention to the complete bullshit that I've always thought Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to be. Like, as humans, there may be times of hunger, or thirst, or lack of shelter, and in some cases these times are long periods with inadequate amounts of these purportedly "basic needs." But, as humans, these "basic needs" do not have to be fulfilled for us to need the fulfillment of friendship, love... intellectual fulfillment. I have never had the misfortune of having my "basic needs" fail to be met over long periods of time, but we've reached a point in time in which a thirst for knowledge is imperative. If this weren't the case, we wouldn't have awesome organizations like the Book Wish Foundation, arranging to establish libraries in refugee camps. Refugees in Chad and elsewhere have daily struggles that I could never imagine, BUT THEY STILL REQUEST BOOKS AND KNOWLEDGE. I think that speaks to both the resilience and and ambition of the human race.

Sure, The Book Thief is a story about a young German girl in Nazi Germany. Many stories are. But among other things, it's also about the power of words. As someone with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for both the spoken and written word, that part of the story spoke to me.

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