I’m barely studying these days. It’s a necessary product of my singlemindedness desire to do one thing really well or not at all. It’s not working out that much though; essays still have to be submitted, tutorials still have to be survived, so I’ve really just been fading feebly from one week to another, a little worse for wear after every painstaking tutorial, serious gaps in my knowledge which I have neither the will nor the desire to fill in in the present moment. The gist of the Oxford education is one of trade-off: I think it is wholly possible to be exceedingly good at your craft after three years of concentrated study of anything, but it really comes at the expense of everything else – of social engagements, marginal friendships, many discrete extra-curricular commitments. And I think I differ from most other people in that I don’t necessarily think that the trade-off is never worth making. I think it requires more courage to expend yourself in a single thing with the eternally lurking possibility that you might never even reach the top of your class/trade/industry for all your effort, mitigated only by the fact that if you’re going to apply yourself in a single direction your entire life you are only ever going to be exceedingly good at it – far more courage than the person who dips his toes in everything, who emerges a far better conversationalist for his passing engagement in everything, a universally palatable, if indiscriminately mediocre, person.
but yeah, too many things happening this term and I am – despite not really knowing what’s been going on in the way of acads, despite the occasional loneliness that comes and passes with over-genial chat with people I barely know and will barely ever understand, despite a general ache of estrangement from the world at large – inexplicably happy and grateful for the smallest things in the world. cs lewis was right when he said that true joy came from desire for something that couldn’t be unilaterally attained, an inexorable yearning and reaching. I hesitate to detract from his spiritual argument but I think I am feeling the same thing in quite a smaller way, a barely-containable frothing, an antsy eagerness for something as yet unattainable but seemingly inevitable