Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: university

Hey Ruth, the Crazy is over

It’s all done, more or less. Sure there’s exams still, but that’s a month away. And I have a couple Physics assignments, but they’re pretty tiny. Other than that, it’s all more or less done.

But then the dry erase markers didn’t erase…

I like the crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t pick it. It’s like the guy from Wolf of Wall Street said, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Guess what? I’d choose rich every time.” I don’t think I’d ever choose the crazy. But I’m glad it happens–every once in a while. It’s like a workout.

The first thing to take down was Psychology. The text is thick. For Monday’s midterm we had to know 300 pages of it, plus anything from the four 3-hour lectures we’d had since our last test. You should have seen the crowd in the exam building ten minutes before the test started. These poor kids were terrified. Most of them were staring at hand-scribbled study sheets, trying to cram one or two extra units of info before the horror.

I, of course, owned the test. And I did it with a smile. That’s part of the solution to the crazy right there–a smile. It can be fun. The test essay doesn’t have to be this horrendous thing that I’m forced to endure. It could be a project I’ve been asked to build.

I had my eye on this test for a while. I was disappointed in my grade on the last test in this class–here was my redemption (this way of thinking makes the game all the more fun, too). I bought a huge cheap linoleum tablecloth–the kind you’d use on a picnic table. It’s pinned on our wall now, filled with delicious psychology scribbles. It’s a fun way to study.

My eighteen-year-old classmates can’t do it, though. They can’t turn it into fun. They can’t appreciate the Crazy. I don’t blame them. They’ve been enduring school since they could form memories. University is just the next thing you’re supposed to do. That sort of perspective makes the awesome things hard to see.

I think it’s great that you and I can see the awesome things in everything. That might be one of the secrets to our own awesomeness.

It’d be awesome if everyone could see the awesome in everything.

Have a great Sunday, Ruth. I’ll see you soon.

The thing about university and family

Life is what goes on.  Life is what I’m doing.  Right now, even.  Writing this blog is life.  It’s not something I do in life.  Right now, it’s life.

My family is life.  Because it’s what I do.  When I roll around on the floor with Joseph, it’s life.  When I build Lego spaceships and princesses with Asha, it’s life.  When I crawl out of bed at 3am to feed Deva, it’s life.  When I slump into a chair beside Ruth for a pleasant moment with tea and anime, it’s life.  It’s not something I have to do.  It’s what I do, and that makes it life.

University is life.  Because it’s what I do.   I feel bad for these teens who have been stuck in school for twelve years.  University is just the next grade for them and I can’t imagine how hard it must be.  But for me it’s easier.  The essays and papers are not obstacles.  They are what I’m here to do.  They are life.

I have a whole lot of life going on right now.  It’s a totally different game from the one I’ve been playing.  It’s a harder game.  The controls are a lot more complex and the levels are tougher to beat.

But who wants an easy game, anyway?


A theatre packed to hear her speak.
Are you here for the grades and degrees?
Or are you all just pleasantly thirsty
like me?

The thing about university

I went down to the campus. Frosh week was in full swing and the big deal of the day was the clubs. Every U of T club had their booth out and the crowds were thick. More clubs than I ever thought there could be. Academic clubs, music clubs, sports clubs. Clubs for Ukranian students, Korean students, Indian students. Clubs with signs in languages I could not read. Clubs for MMORPGs I hadn’t heard of. At least a dozen Christian clubs, a Muslim club and a Hindu club. There was a Marxist club, a Conservative club, and an NDP club. A club for anime lovers, a club for kendo fighters. A club for literary scientists and for the invisibly disabled.

I was old enough to feel out of place, if I had wanted to. But looking around at every kind of interest represented in this circle of scholars, I really felt no need.

The thing about university is … well, I’ll find out.