I did a thing that always makes me feel guilty and dropped a class today. Usually, I love following as many as I can handle because there are so many interesting things to learn about. Sometimes, though, too much is too much, and the thing with grad school is that less is more and you need to know how to strategize. I'm planning on writing my new thesis in the spring, and to do that, I need to do my research /now/. And that means /not/ filling all of my time with classes, especially since I've validated most of my modules and don't need that many credits.
So I dropped a class.
And I refuse to feel bad. It was on Indigenous Feminisms and women's poetry and the reading was fascinating and I was already learning a lot. But it wasn't feasible and it made me deal with the fact that though the topic was important and the critical reading was engaging, I actually hate dissecting poetry. Poetry is wonderful to read and discuss, but start picking it apart into metrical feet and set genres and it becomes too scientific. I know it's an art form, but I find tend to find that actually thinking about its technical aspects kills it.
But then, sometimes looking at how a poem /doesn't/ follow set structure or genre gives it so, so, so much more meaning. One of the essays I read yesterday, Elizabeth Archuleta's "'I Give You Back': Indigenous Women Writing to Survive", was discussing the ways in which the English language is seen as the "enemy" to Indigenous peoples, and Archuleta argued that adopting the language and spinning it in new ways was a way to master it and "write to survive." It was a beautiful point and made so much sense as I was looking at a set of poems later on (Paula Gunn Allen's "The One Who Skins Cats," Christos's "White Girl Don't," and Cheryl Savage's "graduate school first semester"). But then I looked at our preparation sheet, asking us to identify meter (none), genre (none), rhyme schemes (none), and I looked at the poems again, and I didn't want to give them meaning through the way they /weren't/ following Western poetic rules. Because doesn't giving them meaning through such means – even if that meaning has beauty and strength – still define them by what they supposedly lack rather than what they have?
So I'm not going to let myself feel bad for dropping the class. I've learned from it, and I've opened the door to a new field of literature that I can pursue on my own, in my own way, with the time that it deserves. I've also prioritized my own writing. It's strategically for the best, and it'll keep me from thinking of meter for another few months.
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I'm Olivia, a twenty-six year old grad student studying in Switzerland. This is where I share my thoughts on the academic journey, culture, travels, baking, and my daily life abroad. Read More.