There are too many interesting things to do in the world.

As I do every semester, I have chosen too many courses to follow. I always get so enthusiastic when I get to choose what I’m going to do that I always choose too much. If you do my master’s the normal way, they’d advise you to do one course in the second semester and write your thesis. As I’m postponing my thesis to next year, I thought I could do an extra course. Or three. And this is just the courses I follow at my university, it does not even include my classes in Afrikaans in Amsterdam.

But how can you say no to so many cool things? I’m doing a course on gender and diversity, which for me as a feminist is just such an amazing experience. I’m also doing a course on the representation of crisis in literature, and I think both of these classes can really help me with what I eventually want to research for my thesis (I want to look at Afrikaans poetry during and post-Apartheid). And as I’m getting more and more interested in philosophy, and I’m planning on maybe doing a PhD, I thought it might be a good idea to start taking some courses at the philosophy department as well. So I enrolled in a class on continental philosophy and one on epistemology. Both are first year classes so I didn’t think they would give me a lot of trouble, but maybe I underestimated how much of an impact it would have that I have absolutely no training in philosophy whatsoever. During my bachelor’s in Literary Studies I did have to read a lot of theoretical texts, sometimes a bit philosophical, but never really hard-core philosophy.

The result is that I’ve been almost nonstop working for the past two weeks, spending my weekends at my desk as well, and this is only the beginning of the semester (and I don’t really see this changing any time soon). I’m ambitious and I want to do well, and I’m very interested and I’d love to understand everything, but did I choose too much? I’ve done that before and somehow I never seem to really learn from it. I just aim high, and if I have to drop classes I’ll drop them, but apparently it’s just not an option for me to aim lower. I don’t think I’d even want that, I love this ambitious side of me, but I’m also kind of nervous if it won’t come back to bite me. Even if I would ace all of these classes, it would still mean I had less time to read and write and do other things that might be good for me. But that’s the point: there will always be a backside. If I had enrolled in less courses I would have wondered if I had challenged myself enough. There will always be more things to do than I have time to do. Heaven better be one big library, because I still have enough to learn for the next millennium or so.

One thought on “My new semester

  1. Goed zo meid, laat je niet kisten door je ambitie. Als een vak echt te veel is, kun je het altijd nog laten vallen.

    Vriendelijke groet,

    Pieter Maessen


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