I Miss Graduate School

Sometimes, I miss graduate school. Specifically, I miss the conversation.

When I was at LSU in the early 1990’s, we spent a lot of time talking, discussing and arguing. It was exhilarating and frightening to be exposed to so many new ideas, opening a world of possibilities to me.

There’s no way to recreate that. First, the group had significant philosophical differences so it was always lively and honest – no group think. Second, we were united by a shared experience – we read the same books, attended the same lectures so the stage was set. We lived the shared context of life in the ivory tower. We took different things away from those shared experiences, but we had that foundation in common.

While I never felt like I belonged, I always felt welcome. Not so much now. I don’t know many queer people locally who want to talk about white papers. Or white privilege. At least not talk about it with a middle aged white lesbian.

I’d love to be part of a discussion group of maybe 4 to 6 people
who have read Solzhenitsyn and know the basics of our system of government, but have also read This Bridge Called My Back. Without going back to graduate school. That’s my ideal.

Maybe a book group would be interesting, but I fear not being able to meaningfully engage. I considered a series on undoing racism but I just feel too old/bourgie to be taken seriously.

This is all me. I’m hesitant to engage and find what I’m looking for because I fear it doesn’t exist.

So I make do. And bring up Solzhenitsyn not to be pretentious, but because he captured lessons that we overlook and I think that’s perilous.

Conversation is precious – be it a few moments with a stranger in a waiting room or an in-depth no holds barred discussion on big picture questions. I’m weird in that I like both.

How about you?

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  • Like you. I like good discussion. However, some days people can’t see past their own ways to have a true open discussion it seems. Seems that very few are willing to put someone else’s shoes on and really try to see it from the other side vs. digging in. I’m never the most intelligent guy in the room so that can be intimidating. But like a good discussion. I really enjoyed my Graduate class group discussions.

    • Thanks for the comment. There’s a distinction between a conversation and a conversion, I agree. We’ve become very polarized. Perhaps that is one reason these experiences are limited to grad school type experiences where the conversation itself is part of the learning experience. I never had this experience when I was studying for my MSW. It was much more isolating.

      I think I’m also shocked at how people willfully choose to be ignorant of things like government structures and systemic matters (oppression, racism, etc.) It is hard for me to get past that shock.

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