The Last Week of Summer

 

This is the last week of summer for me.

Next Monday my grad classes start up again, which I’m both excited about and dreading. Excited because this semester promises to be the best one yet. I’m taking a class about web coding and a one about the specific library type I work in, both of which I’m pretty passionate about. Students will be returning to the university library where I work, and I have a part-time teaching opportunity. This semester looks great.

But I’m not ready for summer to end.

Summer is the time of freedom. Weekends spent at my family’s house, weeks spent hosting teen-aged nieces, evenings spent cooking elaborately delicious dinners, and hours spent pleasure-reading and watching Netflix. I can do whatever I want without having to deal with the guilt and stress of not doing homework.

And all of that is going to be over in 6 short days.

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Five-Minute Friday: Begin

Every academic test I have ever taken has opened with a professor/proctor saying, “You may now begin.”

Sitting there before I take the test, my mind is racing, trying to re-access all the sections of my brain where I stored the information for this test. My stomach is doing summersaults and my hands are clammy.

Yet when the professor says those four little words, all of that fades away and peace settles over me.

I have studied. I know what I’m doing. This information is all in my head, it’s just a matter of getting it onto the paper in front of me.

Besides, I know something that isn’t on this test. The sentence “You may now begin” implies that this test is the beginning of something. But really the beginning happened long ago and without that beginning I wouldn’t be able to begin the test. The beginning happened when I walked into that class for the first time.

But even that wasn’t really the beginning. That beginning was when I came to college, and that’s was when I went to high school. I could keep going, but you get the picture. Every beginning is just a continuation of another beginning. 

And if you keep going back far enough, in the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God and was God, and in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God spoke out into the nothingness and told the universe, “You may now begin,” and a million billion stars spun into existence.

And 20 years ago Jesus took my messy life, wiped away my old self, breathed into me a new creation and said, “You may now begin.” And every day He gives me new mercy and allows me to begin again and again and again.

Professors can keep telling me I can begin their silly little tests, and I will keep smiling to myself. I can now begin

 

Every Friday5-minute-friday-1 we silence the inner critics and simply write. For 5 minutes, we mute the voices that tell us we are not enough and we pour forth our souls. And it is beautiful. Join us?

On School, Adulthood, and the Giant Squid of Anger

Staring at the empty page of my computer screen, I come to the disheartening realization that I have no clue whatsoever what I am supposed to do.

I now understand why everyone says grad school is so hard.  It has nothing to do with the difficulty of the courses or the amount of work to be done.  Well, maybe not nothing; the work is somewhat more challenging than undergrad course work, but this makes up only a small facet of the strenuosity of grad school.

Why, then, is grad school so hard?  Because your state of life has changed.  When you are an undergraduate, you are still in the process of becoming an adult.  No matter how much you think you are an adult as a freshman or sophomore, if you’re jobless, living in the dorms, and your biggest concern in life is making sure you get papers turned in on time, you’re not fully an adult yet.  Your life is centered around classes, friends, assignments, having fun, dorm life, and the experience – which is much the same as high school.  Somewhere between walking across the stage and walking into your first grad class, however, a shift occurs.  It’s hard to pin down exactly when it happens, but it does.  You get a job, move into an apartment, buy some furniture, stock your pantry, and realize that there is a whole world out there entirely independent of and separate from school.  You wake up one morning and realize (while staring into your closet full of professional attire, perhaps?) that you are undeniably and irrevocably an adult.  You’re not quite sure when it happened, but you know it is true and you know you cannot go back.

Your focus in life shifts school to everything else.  And that everything else is pretty great.  Your time belongs to you, fully and truly, for the first time.

Then grad school starts.

And your life falls into chaos.

You have to learn how to fit time for all the crazy amounts of reading and writing and everything else into your already full life.  No, you can’t go see that new movie this weekend; no, you can’t leave town for the weekend to see family; no, you can’t redecorate your apartment; no, you can’t deep clean your apartment; no, you can’t read the pile of books you just bought.  Why? Because you have homework.  Have a significant other?  I hope you don’t like spending time with him/her, because you won’t be able to.

Grad school is hard because it strips away everything you love about your life and leaves you as a stressed-out giant squid of anger.