You know how much I hate registration. It’s a terrible time. Up all night trying to wrap one’s brain around the intricate mess that is the Dance Department, puzzling over which English classes sound fun and comparing them to which English classes one actually needs, looking over the long list of General Education requirements and attempting to discern which ultra-beginner math class will be the least painful. Finally crafting a schedule that works, only to realize the most important piece has been left off. Ultimately ending up with three tentative schedules to bring in to one’s advisor for approval – the “I’m an English major aiming for Grad School” schedule, the “I’m a Dance minor aiming to live in my parents’ basement” schedule, and the “I’m trying to be an English major and a Dance minor and go to Grad School at one time and if I pick this schedule I have to email half the Dance department and the Language department to get special permission for everything, and will also be single-handedly teaching myself Latin over the course of next semester because I can’t actually sign up for it because I’m trying to be an English major and a Dance minor and go to Grad School” schedule.
In case you haven’t guessed, the answer is yes. That last option is about where things stand for me right now, in terms of next semester. I am trying to get a required Dance class waived so I can take a language class to prepare me for grad school but I can only get one dance class switched out for another – that will allow me to take French – but I can’t get the dance class waived that would allow me to take Latin so I’ll be teaching that to myself over the semester so I can go into level II Latin in spring, but only if the Language department says it’s okay.
Are you confused yet? I’m confused.
So as of right now, it looks like I will (hopefully) be taking a Lit class, a Historical Dance class, a Photography class (which I hope isn’t super lame), Old Norse, French I, and a math class next semester. And also teaching myself a semester’s worth of Latin which I’ll get no credit for. You know. On the side.
Earlier this week, I let myself make the decision to shoot for grad school. But I’m realizing now what this means. Last semester I spent very focused on English – I had no dance classes, and I was barely involved in any Dance Department events. I didn’t like that. This semester, though I am taking dance classes, I still have not done as much with the dance department as I wanted to. In putting together my schedule for next semester, I realize I’m doing the same thing again – not leaving time for dance.
And I miss it. The dance classes I am able to take this semester have made me realize that – I miss dance in my life. I hate it sometimes, often, but when I haven’t been doing it? I miss it, a lot. And I’m not ready to give that up.
So the great schedule I think I figured out for myself at last? I don’t really want it. I want more dance.
I’m taking a Contemporary Modern class, this second half of the current semester. It has been so challenging – it’s a style of movement I have no experience with – a language I did not understand. But I am slowly taking that movement language and adapting my body to it and learning how to express through it. And it is the most wonderful thing I have done in a while. It feels so good, to be able to move. Anne-Rene, the teacher, stopped me in the hall after class, to talk. She encouraged me to keep going – keep pushing myself, keep letting go, keep moving for myself, for my body’s needs. She said she can tell, in class, when I get scared or intimidated, and draw back from the movement. And she said today, I did well. Honestly-well, not just flattery-well. She encouraged me to keep working for that, for the expression and emotion and release. And that’s what I need.
In Dance Composition, as well, I feel like I am finally getting somewhere. I am finally not afraid to create something and show it. I’m not afraid to give what I have. I’m not afraid to recognize my limitations and weaknesses, and agree that I need to work on them. On Tuesday, Steven praised my work more than he’s ever done – more than he has for anyone in any class I’ve ever taken with him. Coming from him, that means a lot. I’m proud of myself – proud of the work I am doing in his class. And I can’t give that up.
I don’t want another semester of no dance. I don’t want to push myself towards grad school if that means I can’t also still have dance. I feel, right now, as though there is no scenario in which I win – I can’t have both. I can’t find a way, hard as I try, to both take the classes I want, to work towards grad school, and take the classes I want, to continue growing in dance. And I hate that – I hate it with all my heart.
There is no way that I have yet discovered, to reconcile these two paths. I don’t think there is a way at all. If I go to grad school, I’ll be going to grad school. Not dancing. And that’s okay – I can do that for a while. Grad School isn’t forever. But grad school is also not right now, and right now, I can still dance if I want – if I try. If I compromise. If I don’t take the classes I wanted to take to prepare for grad school.
I have no idea if that is a wise decision or not. Most of me doesn’t actually care. I just know that I can’t take this next step away from dance. I can’t turn away without a fight from what has made me feel alive for so many years, even though a lot of the time it just makes me hurt.
So, now what? I don’t know what to do in terms of next semester. I already met with my advisor, and we figured everything almost all the way out, but now I want to ignore all that, change everything we did, do something completely different. But I have no plan, nothing. No idea if it’s a good decision. If I should stick with the plan we had laid out and forget about dancing next semester, or if I should do what it takes to somehow get dance classes where I’ll move and grow and push myself. And registration is early Monday morning.
Gosh darn it.