Loren Eiseley is making this so much easier

I like being a student, and I want to do graduate work, but not in cultural studies (my BA field) . When I was 19, a lot of questions were nagging me that were addressed by history and by story, but I'm on to other questions now. I am fascinated by biology and I've been doing coursework a little at a time so I will eventually be qualified for a graduate program in bio. This term was Zoology, and it was a blast, except for the awkwardness of being five or six years older than my TA, ten years older than my study partners.

I was browsing in the natural history at the public library last week, and I picked up a little gift book put together around a Loren Eiseley essay.
howflowerschangedtheworldI sat down in the stacks and devoured it, and when I reached the last page I reached for the nearby books of his essays. I took them over to a study table and sat down to make a decision about which ones to carry home. I quickly noticed that the author biographies didn't agree - his books published before the seventies had notes about Eiseley's academic career and interests, those published later had added the story of of his adventures as a drifter during the depression. Ears perked up, I checked the library catalog and, yep, he published an autobiography in 1975: All the Strange Hours. I read most of it yesterday.
The thing about Eiseley's story - for me - is that he didn't begin his academic career until his late 20s. He did some bachelor's level work at the usual age, but was pulled away by other pursuits and came back to academia after deciding that it was the only work that would feel meaningful to him. And he succeeded in finding work to do, other people who wanted to study, and a place in print - all the things that seem so uncertain as I decide to shoot the moon. I'm incredibly comforted - it's okay to begin again at my age, it's okay to like scholarship, it's okay.

Please let me chime in that it's TOTALLY okay. I'm not in a hardcore 'academic' program, but easily 1/2 the people going through this hell with me are my age or older (or maybe a year younger.) It's really, really, really okay. Really. Preferable, in fact, to being some dumb 24 year old without a clue.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?