Current AU students, entrenched in the seemingly endless struggle toward their degrees, may think I’m crazy. But after finishing my degree at AU last year, I returned to take one more course.
I’m not a sucker for punishment. I’m not turning into a career student. I just decided to take one course simply for the fun of it.
When AU added the course ENGL 380 Writing Poetry early in 2018, I was immediately interested. But I was already in the middle of my final four courses then. I didn’t need any more credits for my BGS program and couldn’t manage another course anyway.
So, I soldiered on, finished my courses and my degree. I packed up my course notes and textbooks and tidied my desk. I went to convocation in June, and I enjoyed the relief of not having to spend another summer working on courses.
But the Writing Poetry course continued to intrigue me. I really did want to take the course—not for the mark or the credits, but for the pure enjoyment of it. I wanted to learn about modern poetry, what it is and what it isn’t. I wanted to practice writing poetry that people would read.
I had already taken ENGL 381 Creative Writing in Prose and ENGL 384 Writing Creative Non-fiction. Writing Poetry would complete a tidy trifecta of AU creative-writing courses.
I decided to enrol in the course over the winter—having course commitments and deadlines is a great way to speed the season along. It was like an early Christmas present receiving the course books in the mail in mid-autumn.
Four months after beginning the course, I’m finding Writing Poetry as interesting as I thought it would be. But the best part is that, with my degree already hanging on the wall, there’s no pressure.
Taking a course just for the fun of it is like going back for dessert. It’s pure pleasure. I can do as much or as little as I want. Marks don’t matter. Even finishing doesn’t matter. (Although it sort of does—after shelling out almost $800 for a course, I don’t want to see a big “F” on my transcript at the end of it.)
I don’t need this course for my degree. It’s just for me and I find it amazing how much more effort I’m putting into it. Part of that is simply because I’m only taking one course instead of multiple courses, but mainly it’s because, absent the pressure of having to achieve a certain standard, I can approach the material more playfully.
I’ve learned a lot about poetry, and I’ve learned how to craft better poems. However, I’ve also learned that this is it—I don’t want to take any more courses after this.
I’m glad I went back for one more course. It’s been a real treat—but one dessert is enough.