First and foremost, Happy (belated) Halloween! Hope everyone had a good time dressing up, passing out candy, eating too much candy, ignoring the holiday completely or whatever it is that you do. As you can see, I dressed up. Wayne's World... Party Time... Excellent. It was a lot of fun partying Wayne's World style with Pat in Cleveland. Coming back to start another week of grad school however, not so fun. Part of me feels like I'm trying too hard to live the life that I used to have; working on school during the week and working on my social life on the weekends. I keep wondering how my fellow grad student friends are keeping up with all the work? The answer is that while I'm spending my weekends with my boyfriend, a lot of them are using their weekends to catch up on all the work they weren't able to finish during the week. Even though I know that I am not utilizing my time on the weekends as wisely as others, my relationship with Pat may be the only thing keeping me sane through this experience (along with my friends and family who also have provided me with a lot of support). The weekends give me something to be excited about and not spending the entire weekend doing school work gives me a fresh start to each week. It's very much a catch-22. I'm not willing to jeopardize my relationship for grad school. Perhaps this is the reason many grad school students aren't in relationships. There was a time when my biggest goal in life was to earn my PhD and become a professor. Don't get me wrong, this is still a big goal of mine but it's not the most important thing in my life. I have found someone that makes me very happy and that is more important to me than any career. If I graduated with my PhD but lost Pat in the meantime, I would not be happy. I realize that there is room to have both, but finding this balance is very difficult for me.
So what makes grad school so tough for me, you might be wondering. Some of you aren't wondering and frankly don't care why I hate grad school. That is your right and I am okay with. However, today I am talking to those who do care. For those of you who do not, please come back another time when we will be discussing a topic that appeals more to your interests. DISCLAIMER: You are about to enter into a deep dark place in which I will act as if my life is the worst in the world and will wallow in self pitty. Please be advised that you will be annoyed with me by the time you finish reading this blog if you are not already. There is no lifeguard on duty. Proceed with caution.
Why is it then that grad school seems to be sucking the life out of me? Let me try and explain. Let's use games as an analogy. We all like to play games, right? I feel like during my entire undergraduate career I was anticipating this game that I knew I wanted to play. For no rhyme or reason, we will call the game peanut. Although I knew peanut would be harder than any game I have played before, I figured I have been playing a very similar game for four years so I would be prepared for the challenge, right? Wrong. The goal of the game [peanut] is to stay ahead, just like the goal has been for the past four years. You have all summer long to anticipate the start of this game, but your anticipation isn't doing anything to prepare you. Finally, you are thrown into it blindfolded and expected to feel your way around. Before you know it, the first week has passed and you are already behind. From then on, no matter how hard you work you can never get ahead. The peanut is winning. Meanwhile, you are still blindfolded so you can't see if anyone else is struggling as much as you and therefore you feel like you are alone. Luckily, as the weeks go on the blindfolds come off. You now can see that others are struggling too. You are starting to realize what the game is all about, but still not quite sure how to catch up. The irony of this game is that at the start of each round [week], you can't wait for it to be over. However, you don't want the days to end because by the time the day is almost over you realize that you haven't completed half of the items on your "to do list" that has the entire week planned out. So while you're longing for the week to end, you're praying for the days to last forever. Makes no sense huh? Welcome to my life as a grad student. I want to go back to the days when life was simple and you didn't even have to know how to write your own name. If you spelled your name with a backwards E, it was okay. You didn't even have to know your name, you could just wear a "Hello My Name is" sticker and let other people worry about your name. If your hair looked like swamp thing (exhibit A to the left) it was okay. If you made ugly faces and awkward hand gestures while laughing (exhibit A again), not only was it okay, but some even considered it cute and put this picture of you in the yearbook (thanks mom).
Okay, okay... I know what you're thinking... woe is me, boo hoo, cry me a river, I've done it, I know people who have done it, you chose this life for yourself, etc. I agree with you and yes I would like some bread to go with my wine. :) Thanks for listening to me vent. I must get to bed, I have a long day of playing peanut tomorrow.