Friday, January 24, 2014

Two Weeks


I blinked, and here we are. Two weeks into grad school. It's been a blur, folks. A crazy, crazy fortnight. I'm sure you're all dying for an update, so here it is. The highs, the lows, and the oh-so-interesting reflections on my new life as a full-time grad-student.

Let's start with the negatives, so we can end on a positive note, shall we?

The Lows

-My commute. I have to travel to campus three days a week, and no matter how I schedule it, one leg of my trip is fifteen minutes, and the other leg is an hour plus. I just can't avoid rush hour. It's terrible and horrible and I hate driving in traffic and (don't tell my mom) I've already had about five near accidents and I'm just waiting for the day (because it is inevitable) when I hear that awful sound of metal on metal contact.

-The homework. Oh, man, am I drowning in the reading. In my first week alone I was assigned well over 100 pages of scholarly articles on New Formalism (ugh! don't even ask), as well as a 326 page book on mythology (actually sort of enjoyed that one), plus a few poems that were only a couple of pages long, so you know, no biggie. Maybe that doesn't sound all that intense? Throw a toddler in the mix and trust me, it was intense. It helped that my husband had work off on Monday, so he was able to take the Little Man out for a day of fun and adventure while I devoted myself to hours and hours of reading. I have no idea what I'm going to do this week, without that precious time.

-Feeling lost in class. While I am in the master's program, I'm taking the same courses as the PhD students, many who have been in their programs for 3+ years and just have this whole swath of knowledge that completely overwhelms and intimidates me. There was a conversation in class the other day about Kantian aesthetics versus Hegelian "spirit" something or other, and I was so lost. So very, very lost.

-The stress of the babysitting situation. I'll probably write a whole post just on this childcare issue, but trust me. Stress.

-The cost of books. I forgot how expensive it can be to major in literature. Especially when two of your professors require obscure out-of-print texts that the school bookstore wouldn't even carry, and you have to spend hours scouring the internet looking for a copy under $200 that will ship in time to get here before next week. That's just one of the many issues I've had with procuring my books this semester. Let's just that I have not been impressed with this school's bookstore. Not at all.

The Highs

Lest you think nothing good has happened in the past two weeks, let me assure you, it's actually been incredible. Fantastic. Really, I'm not being sarcastic here. This has been an amazing couple of weeks, and these highs have just confirmed that I made the completely right choice to come back to school.

-Saying something brilliant in class. Okay, maybe not brilliant, but despite my lost moments there have been a couple moments in every class where I've asked a question or said something that the professor seemed really excited about. They were those triumphant little moments of "Yes! I'm actually getting this! I'm contributing to this class! The professor knows my name! I might just be cut out for grad school!"

-The commute. Okay, I know I listed this in the cons, because the traffic really is beastly and unpleasant and all that, but! I discovered I can listen to audio books in the car! You guys! I have a dedicated three hours every week where I'm trapped in my car with nothing to do but listen to books! Are there too many exclamation points in this paragraph? Anyway, this is a definite perk, and wonderful for my sanity. I might actually blow my personal reading goal out of the water this year, and there's hope for keeping this blog alive.

-Strong start. I don't want to brag or anything, but I totally geared myself up for the start of this semester, and I have been ON TOP OF IT. I've impressed even myself. Not only have I done all my homework on time (reading almost every assigned word), but I've kept to a rigorous house cleaning schedule (I cleaned BOTH bathrooms this week, which is more productive than my pre-school self), made dinner every night, and still got at least seven hours of sleep every night. Don't worry, I know I won't be able to keep this pace up for long, but for now, I feel a little bit like the Energizer bunny (does anyone reference that any more?).

So to sum up, it's been hard, but it's been good. It's felt so good to get my brain working again and to get back into some of this academic stuff, reading Romantic poetry and the like, and realizing how rewarding this kind of stuff is. I'm tired, but right now I'm feeling very optimistic. Here's to a good start.


  1. You are amazing! I am glad you love your program! For what it's worth, I vote you also dedicate a post to time management. I don't even have that many readings and I've managed to fall behind in them, never make dinner, and the apartment is a disaster. Yeah... I wish I had a good excuse.

    1. Hahahahaha! Adrienne, trust me, this streak of somewhat being on top of it won't last. I already feel like I'm losing steam, so I'm sure by the time I'm three years into my program (which might happen, even though this is only a two year program) with double the number of kids, I'll be even worse off than you. Unless we get a nanny that cleans (we'll see how realistic that dream is).