The last few weeks have flown by, filled mostly by three things: essay writing, tutoring and volunteering.
I am relieved to say that the essay writing is virtually done. My 2500-word Australian Indigenous Politics essay has been submitted, and my 1500-word Immigration in France essay is nearly done and due in on Tuesday. Writing essays is hard work. It involves a lot of thinking and always takes a lot more time than I expect it to. After a day of work on an essay, I often feel I haven’t got very far. But if I then compare where I am on that day to where I had been the week before, I am suddenly struck by the enormity of what I have done. It seems essays are written by accretion. Each day they build up that little bit more until suddenly they are complete, or in my case too long! Then comes the painful editing process. Deciding which of the bits I’ve spent ages writing to cut out of my essay is always a struggle. I work with a chisel, gradually refining my work until it is coherent, succinct, and smooth.
Alongside this process, I have spent a significant amount of time working. The hard yakka of essay writing makes tutoring feel like a refreshing break in which I can have fun with my students while also helping them to prepare for their exams or complete various assignments. I am so lucky to be able to work as a tutor. I not only have a job, but a meaningful job I enjoy which comes with a range of perks – good pay, flexibility, getting to meet people’s pets at their houses, and getting to know wonderful young people and their lovely families. It’s also a great because it keeps my brain active and forces me to think about things in new ways, as I have to explain things so that my fourteen- to sixteen-year-old students will understand them. On the whole, I’ve just been feeling very grateful for the fact that this is what I get to do to earn money.
Finally, there is volunteering. This has taken a much smaller chunk of my time than essay writing and tutoring, but it is the other main feature of the past few weeks. I’ve been at soup van on Tuesday evenings and did a beyondblue presentation for a group of year twelve students last week. These are the times where I have completely ‘lost myself’ over the past weeks. Being out on the van and presenting to students both absorb my attention and energy so completely that while I am doing them, I simply do not have the chance to think about myself. My attention and energy are channeled outwards to those who need my assistance and this is a wonderful feeling. Tutoring can be like this, but volunteering always is. This makes it a tiring thing to do, but it also gives me an incredible sense of purpose and joy.
While I have found a lot of satisfaction in what I’ve been doing recently, I am also looking forward to a change of pace which I know will come within a week or so, as by then my last essay will have been handed in and my students will have finished their exams.
Love, hope and peace from Emma.