Frame Lake. Yellowknife, Canada
I just submitted my last project of the semester. Just, right now. After being under the constant looming pressure of studying online since March, I'm finally finished the semester. If you're wondering what it feels like to study a Masters online, allow me to explain.
Enjoying sister and doggie time in Yellowknife
Every day, when I wake up, I think about what readings I haven't completed yet. Then, while I'm at work, I make a mental plan about going straight home after work to do my readings and get a head start on the assignment that is due next week. Inevitably, a grandmother or a friend or someone in between sends a message and I don't end up going home right after work. When I do get home, at last, I make something to eat and turn on my computer to check what pages the readings were. After logging in, I realize I actually do have something due sooner than I think, that I just didn't click in the right folder and didn't see it until right then. I get a little stressed. I then start working on the other assignment which is due more immediately, and don't end up getting a head start on my readings after all. The next day, I repeat this same routine with a spontaneous dinner with friends and a skype date, so again the readings are put on the back burner. I also find another random folder wherein a 3-day discussion has been taking place in my class about which I was unaware. The stress builds.
The bright night skies of the north country
Repeat this for 3 months. And add some group work, and some long, challenging readings, and a few short essays. Then you can feel the weight of the online Masters.
It ain't easy, but I'm truckin' through. Or should I say, tappin' through.
In June, I am so lucky to be attending onsite courses at the New School in Manhattan, and I will be able to study under some of my ESL idols, Jeremy Harmer included. Although the online courses are convenient and challenging, I really miss the in-class conversations and thoughts that can only be generated among a group of people all in the same room, thinking on the same topic. I miss that sense of group thought from my undergrad, and I'm so looking forward to feeling that inspiration in New York this summer.
As for now, I'm in the north country, the most northerly capital city in Canada, and current home of my sister: Yellowknife. It feels right that I'm finally feeling this long overdue freedom in such an outerworldly place. A place where the sun never sets, a place where the blue skies stretch on forever, a place where the beautiful lake is a 5-minute walk from your door.
With a population of 20,000... it sure ain't New York. But there's something here that New York doesn't have: the sanctuary of silence. And doesn't silence lead us to the deepest freedom of all - freedom from our surroundings, and the freedom to look into ourselves?