Empty Vessel No More: Coming Back to (University) Life

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So, I’m a student again.

How the hell did that happen?

The usual way. I applied, somewhat blindly, to study Honours at a local university, unsure about my thesis topic and even about my discipline. I mean, how could I choose between literature, creative writing and history?

In the end I didn’t have to. I managed to nab myself a scholarship, one that came with a project attached. Over the next couple of years I’ll be studying the papers of two of Tasmania’s most prolific and unheralded authors (who happen to be siblings).

Fortuitously, the project encompasses my three loves. Coursework aside, I’ll have to produce a thesis (creative writing), exegesis (mostly literary criticism) and some kind of public program (history).

Somehow I chanced upon my holy grail.

What does it mean, being a student again?

That I can’t redraft this blog post to death, for a start. (Not such a bad thing.) I just don’t have the time.

What it really means is that I can live a richer life again – which is ironic because study is costly, scholarship or no scholarship.

Remember the discredited diagram that purports to depict the teaching/learning process? The one that shows a teacher tipping information into a student’s open head?

Well, that’s how I feel, as silly as it sounds. I feel full again – full of ideas and excitement. Full of life.

Take the past week. I’ve had seminars on research and on writing an exegesis. I’ve been reading about and reflecting on literature and history; travel writing, colonialism and displacement.

I’ve been mixing with writers too, having been to workshops led by an acclaimed local author. It’s been immensely inspiring, all the thought and talk about books and writing. It’s brought me back to life.

Returning to study has reopened my mind, and the ideas are already flooding in. Like the kid in the picture, I’m an empty vessel no more.

The next question is: will I drown in the deluge?

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