one week left

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…of freedom. I’m looking forward to itchy eyes from staring at a screen/book for 20+ hrs per day, sleepless nights, grading undergraduate work, that moment when my dogs recognize the mailman better than me, long rehearsals, and procrastinating by looking through PhD comics archives. Wait a sec. Actually, I am looking forward to it (except missing my dogs).  What could this mean?!

I have to admit it: I like graduate school. I thrive under pressure. I think we all do, or we wouldn’t be here. Otherwise it’s akin to a medieval torture device. I love what I do and I’m still so grateful for the opportunity. I know I’ve written about this before, but I have one of those mothers who constantly bombards me with, “When are you going to get out of school and get a real job?” Well mom, actually,  I can’t imagine a better one!  She works an 8-5 and hates every moment of it. I love my work. I love the tasks, my colleagues, and even the little irritables in the list above. I’ve had four months to think hard about my trajectory and I’m sure I am where I’m supposed to be.

There are some things I’ll be doing different this year:

  • I’m going to avoid sitting on the couch in the TA office. It’s like a black hole of deep sleep. Every time I sit on it, I’m out.
  • I will spend more time working at home, which means my home office will stay clean and conducive as a work environment.
  • I will carry a water bottle. I know, this seems like an obvious “duh”, but I always forget and then I get tired from dehydration, which means I end up drinking soda or juice (bad idea!) 
  • I will bring my own lunches more often than not.  Last fall I was great about this, and this past spring I don’t think I brought my lunch more than 4-5 times. Lunch outings are one of the great social things about grad school, but they take up too much time, and burn a hole in my already-thin wallet. 
  • I will stop doing work in bed. When I do this, my bed becomes an office instead of a space for sleep… and then I have trouble sleeping.
  • I will do my best not to procrastinate about “the small things”. There’s too much at stake this year.
  • I will go back to making to-do lists and planning my work-days out. Again, I did this last fall, but gave it up when people gave me funny looks about having my days planned to twenty-minute intervals. I’m going to find a happy medium, but it’s what works for me. 
  • I won’t sacrifice my health for academics. I gained a bunch of weight this past year after having lost quite a bit during my previous Master’s degree… As a result, I feel horrible. I’m going to schedule gym time, running time, swimming time, and kayaking time… and make them as important as my study slots (this last part is key). 
  • I’m going to take more opportunities. I think we’re apt to let opportunities slide when we’re new to a place. As we settle in and become more comfortable, it’s easier to take advantage of things. This school and the surrounding area has some amazing opportunities, academic and otherwise. Time to find them before I lose my chance. 
  • Finding the Middle Way. I have this tendency to take things to the extreme – work myself to death for three weeks followed by a week of socializing where I end up falling behind. I will be more conscious and try to get ahead of things during my “less stressful” weeks. 
  • I’ve lost myself as a musician – time to find “me” again. I miss performing. I miss conducting. Again with the opportunity finding. 
  • Lastly, I will buy stock in Starbucks. Our department alone will make me rich.