As a student, I’ve been rather fortunate. Most of the time, I have enjoyed school more and more as I go along. One semester is always better than the last, or so it typically seems. There have been a few exceptions to this. After I completed the requirements for my undergraduate degree in philosophy, I still had three semesters left to finish my degree in classics. Those three semesters were not very fun, and I missed the philosophical focus my academic life had once had. Luckily, those days are over and I’m a full-blooded philosopher from here on out.
This semester, however, was a bit of a disappointment. There were numerous classes being offered that I was interested in, but I had to decide on just three. Philosophy of Mind was a given, since it overlaps with my interest in free will. The other two classes could be basically whatever I wanted. After much deliberation, I opted for a class on the 19th-century German philosopher Hegel and a class that would study the impact of sociopolitical changes of the 20th-century on religion. I was, in a sense, trying to broaden my horizons, but by the time the semester ended, I would consider these classes to be mistakes. Time and time again, I would find myself lamenting my decisions, wishing I could somehow go back and take two different classes. Hegel, while fascinating at times, was the most tedious philosopher I have yet to encounter, and the religion class was too sociopolitical for my tastes. I knew that going in, but I hoped it would be illuminating. Instead, I found it somewhat drab.
None of this matters now that the semester is over, but I thought I’d share my experience. Realizing how I felt about these classes will help you to understand just how grueling a process it was to write the final papers, because I simply was not that interested in what I was writing about. Given the situation, I was remarkably pleased with the final papers I was able to churn out. Once they were written, I kind of liked ‘em. That is a minor miracle in and of itself.
The point of all this is that it makes my final grades for the term all the more exciting. As much as I bemoaned two of the three classes I took this semester, I had a successful run. I checked my final grades, and I’m happy to report straight A’s for the term. Not even an A-, folks, but outright A’s. All of ‘em! My cumulative grad school GPA is now 3.96. I’m happy with that. And I must admit, I hope it will only go up from there. Only time will tell…