Sunday, May 18, 2008

For those of you who don't know the story, I came back to the United States after about six years away from it.  I was 25 and knew that if I wanted to get a degree, a B.A., I would have to do it then.  I had an A.A. in computer graphics and advertising I wasn't really using anymore.  I had burned out on advertising and was teaching English in Germany.  My life was very different than it is today; living as an artist and traveller in the world is a lot different from a life as a scholar and a gentleman.

I came back to the US and earned a new A.A. in English Literature at Saddleback College.  I never really liked school, but I got a 4.0 and a bunch of awards, and I was published a few more times.  UC Berkeley wanted me.

Today I am graduating from UC Berkeley.  That means I have been in the United States for four years.  I've lost a great deal by going this route, but I've gained a great deal, too. I am constantly thinking that I might be going the wrong way.  Some of what it means to be a scholar has felt entirely unnatural to me, and I don't think I've done one thing like I was supposed to my whole life.  I certainly haven't done this education thing the way other people do.  People think it's good to be different, but it's also quite lonely.

I am lucky to have friends.  Normal people have friends, but I know that I put my friends through a lot more than normal people do.  I know that it must seem weird to be friends with someone like me.  It's hard being friends with poets and artists for normal people.

It's hard for a poet and an artist to be a scholar and a gentleman.  Someone asked me why poetry.
And I answered, why do I do any of the things I do?  What else am I supposed to be doing?

7 comments:

make_a_scene said...

Huge congratulations!! There's never a right or wrong path through life. No one knows what it is that they are doing. We all just keep groping in the dark. But often we find we are doing something that satisfies us and it becomes meaningful. You ought to be proud and pleased to be free now to continue on your own path. Whatever that may be.

Sarah said...

Congratulations, Jack!

Mumolo said...

Yay, You have done it! I hope you can the German project at some point. It is stellar. See you at Hubba Hubba.

Mumolo said...

*print* the german project

Jack Morgan said...

I have a little more work on that German project, but I think that it is very publishable. I think it would be awesome in a magazine like VICE. Hmmm. WHo do I know at VICE?

jen. said...

congratulations! hurrah!

also, i know you said inspiration is overrated, but i found that to be inspiring. well, not so much inspiring as confirming one of my thoughts - that even though i am 25 and getting over the hill, i can still pursue my dream of getting a b.a. and more. i've been going back and forth on the whole thing, saying "i'm only 25, i can still accomplish my education goals" while the other part of me is going "i'm 25...by the time i finish it all i will be 30...shouldn't i have a career by 30?" i don't even know what a career is.

anyway, yay you!

Jack Morgan said...

I have to say that Americans seem to be obsessed with being too late for something. The truth is that universities were built out of marble and shit so that they would last a long time. They will be there when we are dead. I wasn't even close to being the oldest person graduating.
In Europe I met countless thirty-somethings calling themselves students. When I came back here I realized that the American myth that older students are weirdoes in universities was entirely false. Many people don't do things when they're "supposed" to. Even fewer are able to. The most interesting people I met on campus were reentry students, and I had tons of friends.

Never worry about what you're supposed to be doing.