scholastic resolutions September 5, 2006Posted by Brad Richert in personal.
Tomorrow is the first day of the last year of my undergraduate career. And I do mean career. I graduated high school in 2000 and have been in numerous colleges and universities since. Every year I like to think about what I would like to accomplish for the coming school year. Sometimes it is specific, other times it is ambiguous. Sometimes it is one thing, other times a list. This year I think is different. Come November (or late October) I will have the joy of my firstborn child. This joy, however, will come with serious marital, personal, emotional, mental, and academic challenges.
Over the course of the next eight months, my primary goal is to find that balance that every adult with a family must: between one’s personal life, and their “work” life. Up until now, as a bachelor and as a married man without children, this has never been a real issue. I have only needed to work to support my academic lifestyle. I come home and no one is really counting on me for anything. If I need to, I can stay at the school for hours on end writing papers and doing research. This ends now. So that is my goal. Balance. Wife. Child. School. Work. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.
That said, there are several insignificant academic goals I have for the coming year, and by writing them, I am hoping that they will be here as a reminder. My first goal is to be able to learn the basics of yet another language, but without losing it (the language or my head). I would like to be able to converse, at least in a limited way, with my wife in her native tongue. Secondly, I am taking a course to help me develop my writing skills. Specifically, the course is in non-fiction writing, but I am really just looking for a way to overcome my laziness in my writing style. Thirdly, I would like to become more proficient in my public speaking skills, as currently it is completely conditional on the subject matter and audience. Fourth, my understanding of Christian writings is completely blinded by twenty years of development in the evangelical church with about three years of disillusionment. If I am ever to follow a professional route in religious studies, I need to overcome both emotional biases. Lastly, as my focus in religious studies (based on the number of courses taken) is on Buddhism, I would like to gain more than just an academic’s viewpoint of the religion. My courses have been limited to Buddhist thought in both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions, but with very little emphasis on day-to-day contemporary Buddhist practitioners. If a Christian asked me what a Buddhist believes I could give a lengthy response. If a Buddhist asked me what a Buddhist believes, I would be found wanting.
Year four. Year seven. Whichever one it is, I hope it is a good one.