“What are you going to do after you get your degree?”Whenever I announce my
occupation, this trite, well-intentioned question never fails to follow. I am a student, a senior at Metro, studying Literature and History. Not only a student, I am a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and female. No, I don’t bring in a paycheck, but my life is fulfilling, gratifying, deserving and challenging. Will I teach, write, join the downtown business crew again, or become a clerk in the bookstore? Maybe I will. Whatever I do, I know I will strive to be a bit more patient, observing the tiniest of details, attempting to be more considerate and understanding of people, honoring their backgrounds and culture.
While studying English and History, I have obtained a clearer sense of being. I
have repeatedly professed that my family and faith prioritize my life, however, I often
found that the chaos of establishing a career and pursuing the ‘American Dream’ clashed
with those values. Caught in a whirlwind, life was centered around the present, focusing
on the future, without the time or necessity to reflect on the past. The study of liberal arts has opened new windows to the past in my mind, allowing the wisdom and thoughts of many great people circulate and stimulate my efforts, giving credence to many of life’s blessings and insecurities. The struggles, discoveries, confessions, and pronouncements of those who are forged in history often apply to modern day life relationships. A fellow classmate, very intuitively, remarked that my writing always reflects back to my personal life. The impact of history and literature on my life, explains the gift I have found in my studies.
Socrates (469-399 B.C.), a professional teacher, abandoned the study of the
cosmos, and began concentrating on the human. He believed, in order to objectively
validate the phrase, ‘man is the measure’ one must first know what ‘man’ is. This became
a lifetime quest. His famous dictum, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living,’ best
explains my motivation. There were many questions Socrates asked himself which could
not be answered. In my case, the more I learn, the more questions I have.
Acknowledging that all cultures share similar fears, stresses, struggles and
celebrations has been the essence of my discoveries. Having been raised in Catholicism,
I practiced my faith on the very surface. The bible was something read during Mass, the
prayers were memorized and taught to my children and the clergy were to be respected as
well as those figures that are sometimes called upon during prayer. In a state of humility, while studying Medieval Europe, I began discovering that the forefathers of Christianity were actual people, who learned, tested the authorities and often made unethical mistakes. Even with a flawed character, they were able to overcome their weakness to be recognized by the church as saints.
St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the first...