My final class as an undergraduate has passed. It was a wonderful way to leave academia, for now at least. We spoke French and I drank fresh orange juice, tasted some brioche and reminisced about Grenoble, the mafia, Paris, Corsica, Nice... Seated in a different sort of classroom this time, one with brick walls and exposed metal beams, one where we were on display, participating in a sort of staged performance that characterizes most experiences where one is perched at a table before food and drink and the premise of conversation, we did indeed converse. Two girls whom I know only as acquaintances and a professor I know however well one is able after having traveled together and lived in a place foreign to body but not to mind. I’ve only known this city as a student, which shrouds all experiences with a sense both temporary and fleeting, which has inhibited me from planting roots, from establishing lasting tactile connections along with the many intellectual ones I’ve cultivated.
And now all that remains are some words on philosophy and the ethics of emerging technology which promises to blur the lines between human and machine, some ideas about communication rights and law as per the First Amendment and, finalement, the closing revision of my ideas, thought and printed in French, about the possibility of a second revolution. With the essays finished, the attempts attempted, will come the definitive ritual of receiving a piece of paper four years in the writing, yet virtually untouched and completely unseen by its architect. The intellectual compressed into the tactile, the reason for its accompanying ceremony forgotten save for its importance as a spectator sport.
I think I’ll wear a bright dress found in India that looks like the sky.
I wonder if I’m leaving some sort of paradise where the only obligation—if you can so call it—is to expand my mind, to learn. I answer to myself, decide upon my schedule, reside among friends in a close community, have access to food and drink and stroll through parks on most every whim.
There must be something even better post-graduation. I’m holding out hope. I know there is. You can feel it pulling at the skirt hem or coat tails with each projection of the mind into the future, with each moment the fact of life post-academia slowly and suddenly sits next to you.
Like going to live in Paris, doing nothing more for a means of survival than working for a flea market, or a bookseller, or a flower stand. Or, closer to home, finding a small but charming apartment in which to dwell, working to live and not living to work, just balancing on the head of a pin for a while.