Bubbles and Pears

23 Sep

Hosta

The bubble has burst: summer is gone. Although autumn has been making its presence felt for some time, I still feel slightly bewildered to find myself into the fourth week of a new semester and a new degree. However, there is no doubt that the season has changed and taken me with it.

Leaves

The start of the new academic year is usually a good time for me: I’m full of motivation and ideas about what I want to achieve over the next year, but unlike the real New Year I’m full of energy and enthusiasm, eager to get going after a nice long break – one of the major perks of being part of the educational establishment. This year, however, things are different. Perhaps it’s the knowledge that there is no more buffer between me and reality – once I finish this Master’s degree there’s nowhere left to hide.

photo (14)

On top of this, it seems that some greater force has decided to start sending me pessimistic messages about how hopeless it is to be a student of the humanities at the moment. Everywhere I turn, I find the motivation behind doing anything is money. The concept of quality seems to have become redundant, and heaven forbid that anything is meaningful. I recoil every time I encounter the empty rhetoric and vacuous buzzwords on which New Public Management feeds, and the constant striving to reduce everything to products, targets and their capacity for economic output. It saddens me that this is being suggested as my future career once I graduate: to abandon my soul and join the drones.

PearsThis fruit tree in our garden has been defying classification. The latest suggestion is ‘Japanese Pear’…

Well, I’m not having it! It seems to be my burden in life that the things I am remotely good at are routinely devalued by people with no imagination who think that I should be doing a ‘proper job’. Whatever that is. Luckily, I learned a long time ago not to listen to those people and to follow my heart instead. In the absence of any boxes into which I neatly fit, I’ve had to damn well go out there and make it up for myself.

Viggo jumping 3

With all of this going on in the background, my mood has admittedly been rather black, but I think the clouds, both real and metaphorical, are lifting now. The sun is actually shining here in Denmark, and at the time of writing I’m sitting in my garden in shorts and t-shirt gazing up at a cloudless sky. At the far end of the garden, Viggo is performing all sorts of acrobatic manoeuvres to get at the pears hanging so tantalisingly close on the pear tree. With a bit of effort he always manages to come away with one, and I have decided that this, right here, will be my inspiration.

Viggo with pear

Although my chosen path has not always been an easy one, it has always been entirely my own, and I have no regrets. Yes, right now I may be feeling daunted by what lies ahead, but I know and trust myself well enough to know that whatever it is I’ll take it and make it my own – because for me, there is simply no other way.

Spider

Bobler og pærer

Boblen er bristet: Sommeren er forbi. Selv om man efterhånden kunne mærke tilstedeværelsen af efteråret, er jeg stadigvæk lidt fortumlet over at befinde mig i den fjerde uge af et nyt semester og en kanditat-uddannelse. Imidlertid er der ingen tvivl om, at årstiden er skiftet, og det har taget mig med.

For mig plejer starten af et nyt akademisk år at være en god periode: Jeg er fuld af motivation og ideer om det, jeg gerne vil nå i løbet af det kommende år, men i modsætning til det ægte nytår har jeg masser af energi og begejstring, ivrig efter at komme i gang efter en dejlig lang pause – en af de store frynsegoder, der kommer af at være en del af uddannelsesinstitutionen. I år føles dog det anderledes. Måske er det den viden om, at der ingen stødpude er mellem mig og virkeligheden – når jeg bliver færdig med denne kandidat-uddanelse, er der ingen steder at gemme sig.

Desuden ser det ud til, at en større kraft har besluttet sig for at sende mig pessimistiske beskeder om, hvor håbløst det er at være humaniora-studerende lige nu. Hvor jeg end vender mig, er hensigten, at det eneste mål er at tjene penge. Konceptet af kvalitet viser sig at være blevet unødvendig, og gud forbyde, at noget er meningsfuldt. Jeg afviser det, hver gang jeg støder på den tomme retorik og åndløse buzzwords, som New Public Management lever af, og den konstante bestræbelse for at omdanne alt til produkter, mål og deres kapacitet for økonomisk produktion. Det gør mig ked af det, at sådan er forslaget til min fremtidige karriere, når jeg endelig bliver kandidat: at svigte min sjæl og at slutte mig til dronerne.

Det vil jeg ikke finde mig i! Det er en byrde, at de ting, jeg er god til, rutinemæssigt bliver devalueret af folk uden fantasi, der synes, at jeg skulle have ‘et rigtigt job’ – hvad det så er. Heldigvis lærte jeg for længe siden at følge mit hjerte i stedet for at høre på dem. I mangel af kasser, som jeg passer i, så måtte jeg sgu’ selv gå ud og opfinde dem.

Viggo jumping 4

Med alt det kørende i baggrunden har mit humør været ganske sort, men jeg tror, at skyerne – både de ægte og de metaforiske – er ved at løfte sig. Solen skinner faktisk her i Danmark, og på det tidspunkt, jeg skriver, sidder jeg i haven iklædt shorts og t-shirt og glor på en blå himmel. I den anden ende af haven udfører Viggo alle former for akrobatiske manøvrer for at nå pærerne, der hænger så forjættende tæt på. Med lidt indsats opnår han altid at fange en, og jeg har taget den beslutning, at det – lige her – skal blive min inspiration.

Selv om vejen, jeg har valgt, ikke altid har været nem, har det altid været helt min egen, og jeg fortryder ingen ting. Ja, lige nu kan jeg føle mig skræmt af, hvad der ligger foran, men jeg kender og stoler på mig selv nok til at vide, at hvad det end er, tager jeg den, og jeg gør den til min egen – fordi for mig er der simpelthen ingen anden vej.

 

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