Update: Three Weeks into the Academic Quarter… What the Hell Am I Doing?

My eyes feel like they’ve been run over by a Mack truck carrying a trailer full of elephants covered in wet laundry. But god, life is good.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s sprinkling – not that I can really see it from my window at 1:30 in the morning. If I focus hard enough, the streetlamp in the courtyard becomes blurred behind the sheer veneer of rain. The sliding door across the room is ajar, letting the cold in just the way I like it. The summer was too hot for this Portlander. Now, we’re in the season oft symbolic for change.

The last time I posted was toward the end of June – shortly after my final exams and shortly before I flitted into the woods to rejoin a surrogate family. Since then, I’ve traveled across state lines, grappled with the usual “what the Hell am I doing” angst, moved into a new apartment, started working again, started school again… and have returned to grappling the “what the Hell am I doing angst.” Isn’t it lovely when it comes full circle?

As I said in this interview with A.A. Forringer (thanks again, A.A.), there’s only so many ways I can talk about how fun/stressful/delightful/terrible college is. Adding in a Monty Python post or reference can only last for so long *nudge nudge wink wink*. This is one of the reasons I’ve been devoting a little more effort into my other blog, The Big Blog of All the S#!t I Knowunder the name BBK with my partner Moose. It’s a different sort of outlet, where I’ve been ranting about different aspects of my worldview pertaining to subjects such as sustainability (not just recycling, but true paradigmatic attitude shift), feminism and gender, and a bit deeper emotional ruminations. So it’s the same sense of humor… just smeared with s#!t.

And as much as I have shifted my energies into that blog, I can’t bring myself to drop Stressing Out College completely. It is my first baby and as long as I’m actually still in college, I still have plenty to write about. Heck, I don’t even write about college most of the time anyway. You know I’m flat out awful with resolutions and I’m terrible with pinky swears, so there will be none of those. I’ll simply end with this:

I have missed you, Lovely Readers. And I hope to read more of y’all’s blogs as I get back into writing.

Cheers,
SOS

Seattle Center International Fountain  | Stressing Out College

Shelf Life Expiration Review: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

Slowly but surely, I’m flipping through the pages of the books I’ve hoarded and neglected and will be giving mini-reviews on what I think of them in the new segment Shelf Life Expiration Reviews.  Last month, I took to task reading the philosophical narrative Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder. What a powerful read.

Sophie's World | Shelf Life Expiration | Stressing Out College | stressingoutstudent

I’ve had a mild fascination with the history of major philosophies for quite some time, having read a little here and there throughout my hefty academic career. However, I had been having a hard time figuring out where to properly begin my sojourn into the world of philosophy – something more put together than a series of Wikipedia articles, but that would take less effort than reading translations of interpretations of translations of old texts?

Sophie’s World was my answer.

Gaardner opens us into the cradle of western thought in Greece and guides us through the cliched whirlwind tour of the history of western philosophy. At first, the metanarrative seemed like a cheap, lazy veil of a story to carry the history lesson through. But it ended up taking a brain-picking turn for the unexpected. Socrates, the Renaissance, Hume, Hegel, Darwin. It’s by no means an exhaustive look at the history of western philosophy – he gives Nietzche a mere sentence of a mention – but it’s great for newbies like me. And the index at the back makes for easy referencing.

I still don’t understand all of what happens narratively in the novel with Gaarder toying with questions of perspective and reality, so I suppose I’ll just have to read it again sometime. Not complaining here. Sophie’s World gets the Shelf Life Seal of Approval from me.

This is the first Shelf Life Expiration Review of hopefully many more to come. I’ll try my best to read a non-school-related book each month from my Shelf Life Expiration List and tell you how great, mediocre, or terrible I think it is. Have you read Sophie’s World? Or any book like it? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments below.