Independence is magic because it doesn’t actually exist.

I learned today that no matter how hard I may try to be a self-reliant, self-supporting student who searches for internships, I will forever be dependent on the professors who give me the grade to actually demonstrate that I’ve earned it.

Yes, you read that right. I, the lowly student who bangs her head against the books in order for the knowledge to sink in, must still depend on the professor for giving me the letter that indicates how well I have done. And that single letter, that one dot of ink on the page clearly indicates how many textbook pages I’ve read and how many hours I’ve spent jotting note after note on a page. Even after months of slavery to this institution that they call education, I’m still indebted to them.

Only this time, it’s for a letter of a different kind.

Those dastardly letters of recommendation.

I have worried sick about the possibility of those letters getting lost in the mail (I’m glaring at you, U.S. Postal System) and I’ve gnawed my poor fingernails down to the bone over whether or not my countless hours have actually made an impression. I’ve nagged via email until I sound like an unhappy wife.

And yes, it wouldn’t have made any difference. Today I am free. I am free of the deadline of applications. I am free of the possibility that the internet would fail me and refuse to upload my resume and CV. I am free of the burden of asking people with authority to respectfully recommend me to other people.

Only to replace it the ball and chain of waiting for responses from the schools I applied to. I spent all my time worrying if other people would be able to finish my applications for me by writing letters and now I get to depend on the other side of the equation to actually answer me back.

This is why students take so long to learn independence. Because with the title of student comes the inevitable responsibility to depend on others.

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