For the past few nights, I've had quite a bit of trouble sleeping. Though I would stay in bed around 9 or even 10 hours, by the afternoon I would be drowsy again, wanting nothing but to lay down and take a nap. Last night the trouble escalated when I spent the night in and out of bed in attempts to fall unconscious. I ended up reading an online version of Flatland, a story written in 1886 about a square in a 2 dimensional society who is visited upon by a sphere from Spaceland, who then attempts to give the square an understanding of 3 dimensional space when the square can only perceive two.
This loss of sleep is due in part likely to the situation I find myself in now. The speeches of my elders finally and bitterly hit home for me, those words about the "real world." Like the square in Flatland, I was unable to understand their message, and like the sphere, they were unable to convey their ideas in terms that were understandable to me in my present condition.
In a way I was ready for it in that I knew it was coming, but I would know nothing of how it would strike me.
Now summer is over, and I am not returning to school. The feeling is odd. When I graduated, I had dreams that I had forgotten to take one class and that my degree had been revoked, or that I was missing class altogether and had not left College. Each dream held in common the odd feeling of being done with something that has taken over 16 years. My new dreams present this in a different way. Now I dream consistently that I follow Lauren to her classes, sneaking in on lectures and talking to students. Though I am not supposed to be there I go anyways, not knowing anything else to do. When I am awake, Lauren talks to me about her orientation sessions, the classes, the rules, and the people that she meets. I feel like I've missed something, not in a regretful way, but as if I was just supposed to be there and wasn't. It's not that I want to go with her, I just feel odd that these are no longer my own experiences and that they would go on without me.
The real world is all about the uncertainty of freedom. After college, I've been given no sign, no direction, only my degree. There is no next step, only an empty field. When I first graduated, I applied to all the jobs I've ever wanted, and I never heard back from any of them. It was likely because I was applying to jobs in Los Angeles from Shreveport, but the reason is not important. The effect was the dissolution of the path I thought I knew. School -> College -> Job. Upon actually reaching L.A., I should have spent my time reapplying to those jobs with my new address. Instead I worked other angles, looking for entry positions that would give me the experience to make it up to where I wanted to be.
I'm a QA tester now. I'll start my first day of work tomorrow. But there is no path. I can't "graduate" from tester to lead test, or assistant producer, or whatever. Each career move is a fight in itself. I simply do one indefinitely until I have my chance at another.
I've been bouncing around everywhere in this post, so I should summarize. I've lost the security that the system had given me. I no longer ride the escalator of education, I now take the stairs of which each step upward must be made of my own will. And that feels very strange. I don't wish I had gone to Graduate School, because I realize that would only prolong the inevitable. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'd be guaranteed a job and a direction upon completion of a Masters, but I'm starting to doubt it, especially for the industry I've chosen. I'm just trying to get used to now knowing what I'm going to do or need to do for the next 70 years.
Peace and Love