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#37 Higg’s Philosophy

Last night was my last class as a graduate student at least for now. I have not decided if I will be returning to graduate school for a PHD or a MFA yet.

I had mixed feelings. I was fasting and the course starts at 7pm. So it is towards the end of a long day of fasting. I brought some food with me and I was praying that it wouldn’t stick up the classroom. Before class started, I headed to the campus store to purchase my cap and gown, which I was hesitate to do. I won’t be attending graduation because I was so wishy washy about going in the first place. It will be at 8am on a Monday. I will have to miss work and I will be fasting. The graduation is always super unorganized and way to long. Of course I was convinced last minute by this old lady from my serving job. She said even if you hate it, you should still go. So that night I ordered my cap and gown but then I realized I couldn’t invite anyone because I was to late on accepting my tickets. So they gave my tickets to others. Assholes. Well, I guess it wasn’t meant to be and that is just perfectly fine. I was planning to attend the honors ceremony and hooding ceremony. I have heard from previous graduate students that the hooding ceremony is worth it and way better than the overrated graduation ceremony. I don’t need to wear a cap and gown for any of these events but for the sake of memories, I wanted some pictures wearing my cap and gown with the tassel. I wanted the honors stash too but it was $40. That is just not necessary. I should be given that for free because I am an honors student. I had to pay for my tassels too, which was $13. I didn’t get any of that. It just seemed like a way for the university to make money.

I sat in my seat at 6:40pm. Professor Higgs always comes to class early and sets a mood for the class. He plays something for us on the projector whether it is a song or a YouTube video. It is always unique, unexpected and different. This is my third class with Professor Higgs. I didn’t know how to feel about him when I first took his class in my second semester of graduate school but he was the talk of the students. He lets you grade yourself and has a different approach to teaching. I didn’t always love his approach but I have grown a lot in every course I have taken with him. For my last class as a graduate student, I chose to take Professor Higgs again in a course called Theories of Fiction. I had no idea what that title meant but I needed one more elective. I had major seniorites and I wanted a course that would challenge me but not make me do unnecessary work for the sake of the professors satisfaction. I wanted a course for me. I feel like professors/ teachers tend to give work just for the sake of giving work. Does that make sense? Its like a power thing. In my opinion students don’t always learn when they are under pressure. Sometimes we just memorize the information for the sake of the test but right after the test it leave our brains. Another thing I learned from Higgs is why should I care what people think of my creative work. A lot of teachers do this thing called “work-shopping,” which means we exchange our work with other peers and have them read over each others work and give our opinion. Higgs argues that this is bullshit. Why should someone else validate my work? He was highly against any type of judgement in the classroom and would make sure we refrained from it. IF we work-shopped, we would comment on what we noticed about the language, sentence structure, and style. It was never a work-shop about if I liked what the other person was writing because who gives a shit what my opinion is. Honestly, Higgs is right. Why should it matter if another student enjoys what I am writing about? He might not have the same taste of writing as me. He will tell he hates it and then I will fall into a depression because some dude told me he doesn’t like what I am writing about. You might be thinking “well, I am not going to get depressed by someone else opinion” ….trust me…you will. In some shape or form you will. This society is built on judgement. Society watches a film because critics are raging about it. Movies with bad reviews are skipped. I mean some of us still watch it but most of us don’t.

Suspending judgement is something I learned in the three semesters I had Higgs. I tried practicing suspending judgement in my everyday life and it makes a hell of a difference. It is is extremely difficult. The goal is to take in whatever it is and just feel it and that is it. Just take it in for what it is and that is it. So when a friend is telling me about something they did that they aren’t proud of…. I try not to judge them. How is that going to help anyone? Am I boosting my own ego? Just making myself feel better about how great I am and how shitty you are because of some dumb thing? No. I try to be a good listener. Higgs always says that you learn a lot about yourself when you aren’t judging. Even in a lot of religion, it is said that we are not here to judge others, that is God’s job.

Of course I am not a pro at this. I never will be. But, I try. I try and I slip up all the time. I notice that when I am judging, I am just bringing negative energy into my own bubble.

I have had a tough couple of months. Since the New Year, things have been strange. My car was broken into and my purse was stolen and all these other strange stuff. My emotions have been more dysfunctional then usual. I have been dealing with some sort of depression and identity crisis.

Every Wednesday night, when I attended Higgs class, I felt like I was in this vortex. I was never prepared and I came to class with a different agenda. I would sit in the back. I didn’t know anyone because it was a 400 level class. A lot of my fellow graduate students don’t take 400 level classes. We only take 500 and 600 level but since I just needed an elective I took this class. Also, it worked with my schedule. So there were a lot of undergraduate students in the class. Also, 500 and 600 classes are capped at 18 students, this class had at least 30. Anyways, I would sit in the back on my laptop and I would right the reflection on the reading for the class, which we were suppose to do before class obviously. The reflection again was not suppose to be judgemental. We read a new text every week but Higgs told us to “spend time with the text,” which means you don’t have to read it just spend time with it. Higgs encouraged us to start reading a book from the middle, which is something I have practiced all my life. Whenever I get a new book, I like to read the last page first. Higgs didn’t care what we did. He said you get what you put into the class. He stated he didn’t even care if we came to class. It is up to us and in the end you will grade yourself and if you give yourself an A that you don’t deserve then you will have to live with that forever.

I was never prepared but I was engaged. I would participate and really think about what the discussion was about. I would jot down blog ideas and even though Higgs doesn’t believe in inspiration, I would be inspired. I would leave class with an abundance of knowledge and I didn’t know what to do with all of it. Seriously, knowledge is confusing. Knowledge makes you question your very existence and sometimes ignorance is bliss. Knowledge left me uncomfortable. I went home to my sheltered life feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I would wake up in the morning and go to work feeling even more empty that ever. The discussion would follow me. The problem was that I agreed with a lot of what Higgs was telling us about life.

One evening he brought up the idea of failure. He explained that failure was something we all have to accept. We are told to follow our dreams but even when we get that dream…we are left feeling incomplete. So what completes us? Once we accept failure, like really accept failure, we will be able to reach a different point of our existence. We will be able to see what really makes us happy. Higgs described his own journey through life in the film industry, then quitting and sleeping on his brother couch trying different drugs. He ended up going back to school because maybe that is what the universe wanted for him…he will disagree..lol. Higgs doesn’t believe in God. He went on about writing books and still not feeling complete even though he thought getting published would fulfill him. It took a long time for him to accept failure but after he accepted it he found that Kaitlyn (his wife) and Jasper ( his son) and tacos along with some awesome show is everything to him.

As humans we are always searching. We are always looking for fulfillment and validation but if we take both those two concepts out of the picture? What is left? Just you.

Again, this is all a struggle for me and this class really caused a lot of anxiety but I wouldn’t take it back. It was the best of the three course I had taken with Higgs. This class was personal and maybe what I needed in my life right now. I wanted to blog about this because I didn’t want to forget what Higgs philosophy is and I don’t want this feeling to be lost. I don’t want to conform into what the world wants me to be. I just want to be me, a Muslim and a human being. I come from a family that values honors above all. Judgement is in our blood. Sometimes that is all we do. I hate it. We judge each other constantly. They judge me constantly. They are constantly putting me on this pedestal that I don’t want to be on. My dad is constantly gloating about my education and how I am going to be making so much money as a professor. He has NO idea what he is talking about. I will be lucky if I get one class as a professor. I am not better than others because I have a Masters degree. I just like school. I am not even like super smart. I just work hard. I just hate it. There is like this pressure on me. Like I have to be successful. They have even said to me in the past you need to marry someone on you level…what the fuck does that even mean? What level? The human level because we are all human? So forget love and connection just focus on status and money…got is mom and dad. Since I was a little girl, it has always been about reputation and I am so fucking done with it. I choose not to live like that. They even judge who my friends are. If they dressed a certain way or practiced certain things in their lives…immediately, they would say…you shouldn’t be friends with this person. I get it. Your a parent and you worry but at some point I am old enough to follow my own consciousness and not theirs.

Sometimes people have corrupt ways and they think everyone else does too. But, I am just trying to live. I am trying to be a good Muslims, eat healthy, exercise, do fun things, have a bunch of animals, plant a garden, drink tea with people I love, travel and have a cute house where I can keep chickens and birds. Go to the movies and just be happy. Having a fulfilling career would be nice too but not one that will take away from what I find most important in life.

Cheers to Professor Higgs.

Definitely the best out of the three.

~Frshta

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