Bring Back Sincerity: Can I say that it's been a while since you've checked in with us consistently?
Arye: Yeah, I'm aware. Man, I wish I had a valid excuse. To be honest, I don't. I'm just tired all the time.
BBS: Well, let's start from the beginning for the readers: where are you now?
A: I am in NYU's School of Social Work and I am also working three days a week in a non-profit located in East Harlem.
BBS: Which undoubtedly is a new scene for you...?
A: Yes, you could say that. My current lifestyle is definitely different from what I'm used to. For one, I have to wake up every morning at an early hour. As early as 6:20 on Thursday mornings.
BBS: My God. That is early. And you're used to getting up when...?
A: Let's just say, I had a very leisurely schedule.
BBS: Are you waking up that early to go to school?
A: Yes, I am.
BBS: How is school? I know that NYU is a very expensive program so I wonder if it's worth the money.
A: Hmm...I'm trying to figure out how to answer this question without getting into trouble.
BBS: Do you think that the dean of NYU School of Social Work is reading this interview?
A: No, it's not that. It's just that I've been very disappointed so far. It's been a somewhat frustrating experience going back to school after all these years of being away from it. It's been painful in some instances. And, in risk of sounding snobbish, there hasn't really been anything intellectually stimulating compelling me to pay attention or get involved. Most of schooling experience thus far has been very unsubstantial. I spend a majority of my day resenting people for talking about themselves and their feelings too much.
BBS: And I'm sure that's disappointing.
A: Oh, it most definitely is. There has been so much incessant talking and I fear that this is only an indicator of the years to come. All talk...like morning radio.
BBS: To be fair, Arye, you are in social work school. What exactly where you expecting? It sounds like you wanted to be in law school.
A: Well, let me talk about my field practice for a second: the one thing that's frustrating me about my experience so far is that a majority of your day is wasted on meetings, paper work...now that I'm in school and working in a non-profit...I realize that this world is really no different from the corporate world. And it saddens me because if you spend two hours in a meeting in a major corporation environment, well, no biggie. The client pays for it. But if you do the same in a non-profit, your clients, the needy, pay for it. You'd be shocked at how much paper work I need to fill out...as a student! How many meetings I've been in. It's absurd.
BBS: That is suprising.
A: And get this--My supervisor just informed me that my field practice has always been given to second year students in previous years because of the high demand. This is the first time NYU has given this specific organization a first year intern. So at the end of the day, naturally, I'm so tired, mentally and emotionally, that I come home and sit on the couch and watch TV. Astonishingly, now that I'm in school, I am watching more TV than I ever have. And my writing suffers for it. I can't sit and write creatively. That above all depresses me.
BBS: That is truly unfortunate. I can only express my support and hope that you are able to write regardless of your lethargy.
A: It's an exhausting occupation. I have no idea how people spend their lives doing it. I really believe that being a social worker is a thankless occupation. I once heard one of my co-workers say that a social worker is the pooper-scooper of the world. We pick up the crap on the side of the street. We're the ones to clean up the mess after it's been left there.
BBS: What do you think you'll do after you've finished school in two years?
A: I have no idea.
A: Yeah. I am having an incredibly intense year already and it only started two months ago. I am located in a neighborhood I never knew existed working with people I don't, and may never, understand. These are mentally ill, drug addicted, homeless people. In most cases, they are minorities. I have thoughts running through my head throughout the day that I am ashamed of. I don't know...I go home at the end of the day and I worry whether I said or did every thing right. A corporate employee goes home and he just goes home. Work is work. You're still getting paid. You can quantify success as a finished project or a bottom line. There is no such thing when you're a social worker. You spend your whole time wondering what you're doing and whether it's doing any good.
BBS: Sounds very different from the self-absorbed life of a freelance writer.
A: Yeah. That's an understatement. And I kind of miss it. I miss the bubble. It's warm in the bubble.
BBS: But the bubble is never gratifying. And moreover, the bubble always eventually pops.
BBS: I hate to do this but we’re out of time here. Please promise us at Bring Back Sincerity that you’ll keep in touch and let us know how things fare.
A; Absolutely. I’m sorry I’ve been so inconsistent.
BBS: Thank you, Arye, for being here. And until next time, keep bringing back sincerity. Good night.