Thursday, October 19, 2006

Shaving Face, Saving Faith

This morning trimming my shade of a beard I managed to goof. My little moustache had a nice hole of clearcut hairs. It looked stupid. I decided that the moustache had to go. And with that decision the entire beard went and my skin breathed the sun’s rays once again. Thus began my day.

Nothing really happened today. I had class, I understood little, but then again even the Italians couldn’t understand the pronunciation of various French artists of the early Impressionist pronounced by an Italian woman. And today was the fateful day when I added my final class to the roster of ever-changing never-happening classes. Italian Literature I. Could have been anything. Looking over the syllabus and hearing the professor discuss the readings, I started to get a little nervous. It seemed like the entire canon of Italian classics were to be read for the class (all of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Ariosto …) along with around 400 pages of additional background reading. Luckily I spoke with the professor who exclaimed that I couldn’t be expected to read that much at all and outlined certain titles.

But it got me thinking, what if my program doesn’t accept the fact that I am changing the courseload to my needs? And am I reading anything that is required by the Italian department back home? What about my art history classes; am I learning anything worthwhile in those at all? Within a year I’ll be starting to write a thesis on some facet of Italian Renaissance art and I haven’t yet concentrated in any facet of the period. So I freaked out, paced.

But to make a long story short, I calmed down and realized I shouldn’t take this all so seriously. Italy will teach me to chill out, just go with it. Sure it would be nice to deepen my education in a worthwhile and useful direction, but hell my education doesn’t end in 2008 and it doesn’t end with the last class. So for now I just have to take it as it comes, read what I can, understand what I can and go with it. Chances are I won’t know how much I’ve learned until it is all over and I find myself surrounded by English navigating the familiar channels of Harvard University once again.

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