In part to get a new visa that expands my choices and opportunities and in part to expand my horizons and feel as though I am doing something worthwhile while in Berlin, I have returned to school. I have enrolled in the Masters of North American Studies program at the JFK Institute at Freie Universitat and have decided my two disciplines to be culture and literature (we pick two out of six areas to focus on). Yesterday was orientation and my first full day on the campus of Freie Universitat in Berlin. I packed up my backpack and headed out. I spent all day on campus to learn about the program, meet others in my cohort and learn about the campus. Here are some things that I gleaned from my day….
- I am old. Ok, I am not super old and never too old to learn but this time as I head to grad school I am definitely one of the oldest in the room. As I looked around me I would guess that most people in the room were in the early 20s range and perhaps a rare 25-26 year old. I did find the other person in the room in my age range to sit next to and chat about this stuff with. The first time I went to grad school I was one of the youngest in the room but this time the tables have turned. I keep thinking about how grateful I was for some of my older classmates in seminary and their perspectives. I hope I can be that for some in the room as well.
- These youngens hold so much anxiety about the whole thing. So many of them asked panicked questions about doing this right and on time….what about how to do this the right way or in the right time? I just didn’t feel that anxiety. I spose this comes from #1 as well but at this point in my life all of this is bonus and I am actually there to learn. I don’t really need another Masters and I have no timeline really. I don’t even really need to finish so all of that anxiety just kind of left the building for me. I don’t want to live in angst. I want to live in grounding and meaning. I guess that comes with time.
- Over and over again I just keep thinking about how cheap this is and how fantastic to be able to do this now in my life. For the 6 month semester, a full transportation pass and loads of other perks, it is 300 Euros total cost. There are some that can even go study at a prestigious US college for a semester and not pay any more than our 300 Euro cost per semester. What??? Education should and can be cheap!!! Suck that, US higher education! I JUST paid off my student loans last year before moving. This also means I probably paid more in interest than the actual loans…ok, not that much but waaaayyyy too much!
- I came, I learned, I got excited about classes, I met a few people but then I came home and continued living my life. This time, it is not everything but it is something. And I like that balance. It could be a great container all around.
- It is fascinating and became more so as I heard mostly German professors present their departments and talk about this, to learn about the place I came from from this perspective. I am learning about North American from Germany and from mostly German professors and they are way into this. Fascinating! I will get to see my homeland in many different lights and really get to study from outside of my world. Wow.
- Looking forward to what this will bring me. I begin classes next week and am excited to see how it goes! Stay tuned!