Two Words I Never Thought I’d Say

I should be doing anything other than blogging right now. This week has been insane, and it’s only half over. Last week was also insane. Next week is going to be insane. Insanity seems to be a theme around here. I don’t have enough time to do things that aren’t homework right now.

So I think I’ll spend an hour to write a long blog post.

What can I say. It’s the easiest way for me to  process my thoughts, and blogging has become a natural recourse whenever I have a lot to think about and little time to think about it in. There are actually a couple things I’d like to blog about right now, to help me figure them out for myself, but I’ll start with just this one.

The topic: What Do I Wanna Be When I Grow Up, alternately known as, Two Words I Never Thought I’d Say.

What are those two words, you ask?

Graduate school.

I’ll give the people who have known me for a long time a few minutes to recover before I go on. I know, I know. I never thought I’d hear those words come out of my mouth either. It’s shocking. I’m still a bit unsure if I’ve lost it or not. I probably have.

I talked to Dr. Gruenler, my brilliant adviser and the kindest and most awesome faculty member at Hope, for a couple hours today. About life, and grad school, and Tolkien, and research projects, and staying in Holland over the summer next year, and Tolkien, and housing, and academia, and Tolkien, and changing my major (yea, again), and May Term this year, and Tolkien.

Yea, it was a lot of Tolkien. What can I say. We’re both obsessed. In all the best, most scholarly ways. Mostly.

We also talked about Sherlock for a little bit though, actually, so apparently neither of us is above fangirling and fanboying (fanprofessoring?) a little bit either.

But grad school.

I think I’m changing my major again. From English with a Creative Writing emphasis to an English Literature major. Because I’m not a writer. And you know…I’m ready to accept that now. Nonfiction I enjoy. Poetry I love (or used to – haven’t tried it in a long while). Fiction…I kind of loathe writing. Fantasy I basically fail at. I don’t have a writer’s brain. And believe me, I know some writers. Always carrying around a notepad, always brimming, quite literally, with story ideas and bits of genius. Complaining of too many ideas and too little time in which to make them real. That’s not me. And I’m ready to say that’s ok, now. I know it’s not the only thing you need to be a writer, but…I’m beginning to realize that I can’t force myself into a creative voice that doesn’t belong to me.

So, I think I’m going to change my major.

I also am going to be staying at Hope the full four years. I have planned to graduate a semester (or even a year, if at all possible) early ever since I started thinking about college at all. But I like it here. I love learning. The community I have found, a handful of fellow students and an amazing professor who are passionate about similar things and love what they are doing and studying, is invaluable, and not one I want to leave behind. I have always planned to graduate as early as I could, and move back home. Get a teaching certificate, teach English in some run-down Vermont high school, where no one cares a lick about anything I have to say, and where the students hate me for giving exams and the teachers hate me for not approving of the school system. There my plan stopped – but that was far enough. It meant I got to stay at home forever.

Don’t get me wrong. Home is the best place I have ever been. I’m a born and bred Vermonter – I’ve got dirt ground into my skin, hard work and farming running in my blood, and my dear family and homestead first in my heart on this earth, always. But if I go back now, if I finish college early and skedaddle on home as quick as ever I can, aren’t I running back to the safety of my comfort zone? And now that I am beginning to see how much the world has to offer beyond the reaches of my home, how long will that home be comfortable and not just…limiting? I still want to go home. Back to Vermont, back to my family, back to my roots. I want to live there, ultimately. But maybe just not yet? I want to finish college first, all of it, without graduating early, and throw myself into as much of the good that is here that I can.

And maybe then still not go home quite yet. Because there’s more. There’s more for me to learn, and I love learning. If I graduate in two years, I’ll be done with being a student. I know you can always teach yourself, and study and learn on your own. Heck guys, I’m homeschooled. I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the concept of teaching oneself. But it’s different. There’s not the community that is here, and there aren’t the like-minded people who are all equally passionate about the things I am passionate about. There’s no one to encourage or to hold me accountable. And boy do I need that.

I’m not ready to stop being a student. So grad school.

I’ll think about that more when it gets closer. I’ve still got the rest of this year, at least, to not have to start worrying about it yet. But I think, maybe, I’d like to look into it. And maybe, you know, apply. And maybe, you know…go. To grad school.

I can’t believe I’m saying this.

In the meantime…so much. Dr. Gruenler was talking about research projects, and the possibility of me staying in Holland for a summer (a whole summer. Next summer. Between Junior and Senior year.) to do research-y things with him and other amazing people. It sounds fantastic. I guess my family should start mentally preparing themselves now for the possibility that I could be spending a summer away from home. The fact that I am okay with the idea of not going home over a summer is a bit frightening, not going to lie. A lot frightening. But not bad.

I need to revise my four-year plan, and change my major. I have no idea how one goes about doing that. It can’t be all that hard…I hope. I need to start looking at classes offered here, and figuring out what would be best for me to take, in possible preparation for something like graduate school. I need to do some serious thinking about…what I’m getting myself into. Dr. Gruenler was talking about languages – how many have I studied? Have I done French? Italian? Why not?

So many questions, that I have now got to ask myself, and find answers to. Should I be taking more languages? Do I not like that idea because I’m not interested in the philological or linguistic aspect of English and literature, or do I just not like it because I hated learning Latin when I was ten? I like German now. A lot. I absolutely love studying Old English. And I’m good at both of those. So…what about more languages? Dr. Gruenler said one of the things he wishes the most that he had done, and that would have been the most beneficial in grad school and for his career now, is to have learned more languages earlier. Language fascinates me. But taking more language classes? Could I? Should I? I’d like to know more. But I don’t know if I’d like taking more.

Am I over-thinking this? Probably.

Another thing about languages: I have a 99.79% in my German class right now. I got over 100% on our Old English midterm. Dr. Gruenler told me today that I got the highest score, by several points, of anyone in the class. Flattering. Very. (as a side note: I still don’t know how one should react when their professor praises them for getting really high grades or being the best in the class. People who have already been to college: Help me. Because right now I just react by smiling stupidly and feeling totally uncomfortable if we’re in public or only mostly uncomfortable if we’re in the privacy of the prof’s office. =P) So…there’s that. Dr. Gruenler obviously thinks I have some skill in language. I just think I had a very many good years of Latin ;) Heh. Shout out to my dear Mother (and Mr. Spotts of TPS, as well): Thank you for raising me on Latin. It has been absolutely invaluable this year. In both my German and my Old English classes. Because I actually understand grammar well enough to know that Nominative is for SUBJECTS and Accusative is for DIRECT OBJECTS and Dative is for INDIRECT OBJECTS and Genitive is for POSSESSIVES! (though I can’t for the life of me remember what Ablative did. Something about prepositions, I think).Unlike, like, everybody else. o_O I feel smart. Mommy you rock. <3 And I completely aced my Old English exam because of your epicness. \m/


So. Moving on to May Term. Taking it, this year. I think I am going to. Even though I don’t technically need to in order to graduate on time. Because it would open up more space for me to take things like possibly another foreign language, and photography, and more English Lit and Writing classes, and other things like that. Things I want to learn, and should learn, and would be helpful for grad school should I go that route, and are things I’m interested in doing in my life in the future. So I’m staying for May Term, and I don’t care that it’s more money and more loans I have to take out. As long as I am the only one getting in debt here, it’s all good.

My mentor (is that even the right word? I don’t know what to call her. The woman I’ve been talking with and doing a Bible study with for an hour every Monday or Tuesday night for the past several weeks, who is a life coach and a mentor and a wonderful Christian woman) raised an interesting point this week when we were talking. I’ve been talking with her about some of these things, and my reasons for wanting to graduate early, not go to grad school, not do may term. My reason is always money. Because it costs too much. Because it means I have to take out more loans. But isn’t there a difference between being a good steward of money and being wise financially, and possibly ignoring the path God is trying to set for us because we refuse to pay for it? And what good is a thing if it doesn’t cost me anything? And grad schools should pay me anyway. And…

And. Am I hiding behind the fact of these things costing a lot because it’s an excuse for me not to push myself out of my comfort zone? Am I declining to do things because they cost money, simply because it’s a way for me to not have to do them? Even though I want to stay for May Term, I think I am a bit unsure about it. Being away from home for an extra month. Living with…who knows who, in who knows what conditions. Taking classes that meet every day. Having a whole semester’s worth of learning crammed into one month. It’s different than anything I’ve ever done, and thus scary. And thus, using money as an excuse not to do it works out fine.

But if I take it, I can get courses like science out of the way without having to worry about having a ton of other classes at the same time. And I can open up time for me to explore the English Department’s offerings more during the academic year.

…And gosh, I’ve just sat here for almost an hour and a half writing this, and haven’t done a lick of homework, and I’ve got quite a bit to do tonight, and it’s dinner time now, and sheesh, if any of you actually read all this I commend you. And I’m sorry. =P

Well. I’m off to dinner and homework. Actually, maybe not in that order…


20 Comments Add yours

  1. Lulu says:

    Bottom line: You need to get married, and fast.


    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      No. I really don’t. I am totally not ready for marriage at all.
      Plus I don’t actually know any guys…


  2. Lulu says:



    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      That is what I thought in highschool, and have always thought up until this year. And I still wouldn’t say I’m good at them – I just enjoy them.
      Also you didn’t spend any money to get back. *grins*
      And the more you stick with it through the torturousness, the better it gets.


    2. mariertps says:

      I’m with him ^ =P And I actually have spent a fair bit of money trying to learn a language. *rolls eyes in disgust*


  3. juliel1tps says:

    *hugs Anna* I am praying for you, Addy dear. <3
    LANGUAGES. YES. I LOVE LANGUAGE. I currently want to study linguistics and teach a language on TPS (Hebrew or Italian, possibly).


    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      I’ve always thought I hated languages with a burning fiery passion. But I’m discovering that’s completely false…XD I mean, no one really likes taking exams and all that stressful stuff. But if we remove the exams and tests from the picture, I really love learning German, and have loved Old English as well. So. SO THERE, EVIL EXAMS! YOU LOSE! *smirks*


      1. Also, with modern languages anyway, it is only a matter of a couple years before all the horrible exams are left behind and you get to just enjoy it. :)


        1. AnnaEstelle says:

          Truth. =D
          also you can visit your sister in Germany…and at least know how to correctly ask where the bathroom is.

          Actually I take it back. I forgot that bit already…


  4. Grad school. My sidekick has finally seen the light ;) They say the master’s degree is the new bachelor’s these days anyway.


    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      And at last I see the light, and it’s like the fog has lifted…*hums*
      Oh. Oh, you were talking to me? Oh. Sorry. um. *cough* =P Yea…um. Gah. the light is blinding and scary. =P But yea. I see it. I definitely see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Also, when it comes to second (or in your case, fourth) languages, look at grad programs you might be interested. When I was looking at the possibility of a Ph.D. in English, a lot of the schools wanted a reading proficiency in at least English, German, and French…although Latin, Spanish, Italian, and other languages are always added bonuses.


    1. Oh, and you do not have to have the proficiency in all three entering the program, but the more foreign language you take now, the less you have to take in grad school.


  6. Welcome to the dark side.

    Also, you can also look at doing a two-year masters, either alone or before a PhD. The language requirements for a masters degree are usually wayyyy less intense.


  7. Bessie Lark says:

    Seeing this made me really happy for some reason. The post, not the picture (although that made me smile).
    And if you go to Holland you should go to the section with all the Tolkien character named streets and take photos with the signs. *nods*


    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      …*coughs* Holland meaning, Holland Michigan. Meaning the city that Hope College is in. XD Not Holland Holland. Though that would rock… ;) Hehehe.


  8. sarahtps says:

    Wow. I’m kind of in awe of you right now, to be honest. You’ve obviously thought about this a lot, and your willingness to change your plans and step out of your comfort zone like this is impressive. I’ll definitely be praying for you as you work things out.


    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      The topic has kind of been consuming my life for the past couple months, and is probably only going to continue doing so. =P thank you for your prayers. Quite honestly, I’m absolutely terrified. XD


      1. sarahtps says:

        Wow. And you’re welcome!



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