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Well folks, grad school is almost over. Completed first draft of thesis over the break, and I’m down to the wire. Paperwork filed.

Is this the end?

Will I go back?

Do I need a 12-step program to wean me off school?

Maybe.

 

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Did I just tag “graduation?” Shit. YES I DID.

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I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is the coldest winter I have experienced for a long time; we’re talking ice-on-your-car cold, when you have to pour water on your windshield cold, and when that water promptly freezes cold. Brrrr. (and yet, I do love it.)

Meanwhile….

I wish that I could send out a general announcement: “please withhold all potentially negative information till the end of finals.”

But, life offers no such public P.A. system, unfortunately.

A week ago, I was thinking how crazy it was that I was done with regular grad-classes and would be writing my thesis soon, graduating right after that. Now it looks like that is not happening, partly from my fault, partly due to the shit that is the GRE Lit, partly due to the unyielding nature of the Graduate Advisor. From where I sit now, I think I’m going to have to stick around for another semester, and write my thesis in the Fall.

Now I know that I was ahead of schedule anyway, and most people don’t finish in two years, and I’m quite younger than other people in my program, but I have to say, this sticks in my craw. I don’t do delays. One hiccup and I feel like a total failure.

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But it all makes me wonder why I feel so deflated; is it my academic perfectionist-tendency or the pressure of outside sources? Usually I’m able to brush things off pretty quickly in life, but school has always been my safe place, my shelter from all the other annoyances in life (not to say that grad school is one GIANT pain in the neck sometimes). But I feel like this shelter has been breached.

I guess it wouldn’t be grad school without some sense of discomfort, inadequacy, and uncertainty about life!

But I still can’t shake the desire to stamp my feet and shout “I wanna graduate NOOOOOOWWW!”

If I’m looking on the bright side (forcefully) I guess I could say that this gives me more time to put off my paying my student loans and to avoid joining the “real world.” And the silver lining? Because I have to now take another seminar so I keep my financial aid next semester, I’m going to have a weekly opportunity to sit for 4 hours and stare at the same man who said “I will not make an exception for you on the grounds you have suggested.” Yay!

Let’s hope he doesn’t remember me only as the grad student who ff’d up her schedule. Hmmm.

Now I need to push all this out of my head so I can get back to the task at hand: writing two seminar papers.

I have not written in a long time, which I blame partly on me finishing my thesis, and being generally busy. I could blame it on studying, but let’s face it, I don’t really study – I just read.

As of right now, I am done with all academic related activities at UC Davis. Production at the paper is over, finals are over. And it hasn’t really hit me yet, but I keep getting this feeling like I should be upset. Which I am, a little, because my life is about to change dramatically. Moving, grad school, general upset of all normality.

But what hasn’t really sunk in yet is the knowledge that I will never again go to class in Olson, sit in those dreadfully uncomfortable iron chairs, or charge dodads I don’t need to my student account. How can college be over?! It is so clique, but it really does feel like only yesterday that I moved in to the dorms and lived with evil heat-loving roomates.

Overall I think I am just happy with what I have accomplished here at Davis. (Here’t the part where I brag) I’m graduating with honors and have been recognized by my department.

A part of me wished I could simply stay in class forever, but the other knows I need a change. If only change could occur without me having to move all my stuff….I have lots of books. Heavy books.

Wanto to help me move?

Today my graduation announcements arrived in the mail. Already!

So now there I am, printed on beige paper: I am graduating, and all the details. Two o’clock on June 13th, at the ARC Pavillion. Five tickets to my name. High or highest honors? I didn’t know – so I put high honors – modest, no? Just left to be folded (directions included) and placed inside the inner envelope, then inside the outer one with a seal on the close.

All that’s left is to go take photos next week in my cap in gown and then I’ll be set.

Right?

The start of my last quarter at UC Davis….

I feel somewhat confused about the whole thing; some moments I can’t wait to be done and others I’m sad because I will never have another April 1st on this campus. I want the future to come but now that I know what it is going to entail I’m hesitant. Grad school doesn’t worry me, but there is this thing sticking me in the back of my mind, and I can’t tell what it is.

The truth is, I know that I need a change in my life. It’s like moving out of your parent’s house; it just isn’t home anymore. And yet, UCD is my home; it’s the one place where I feel completely at ease and in place. Will I find this feeling somewhere else?

I usually believe that everything happens for a reason. Since my grad school was basically chosen for me rather than me chosing it, I hold onto the thought that some other force is leading me there. I hope so. It also led me away from living with my dad at UC Irvine because he is also going back to school, for a reason I’m not quite sure of. A hobby maybe?

Now that I’ve been ‘freed’ from getting my Ph.d right away (I’m in a master’s program) there are all these other possibilites I can see. Ph.ds become professors, but I could do anything. I could work in publishing or go back to an old idea to go to law school – not that I want to become a lawyer but maybe to work in policy. It would be amazing to work in say, London or at a US embassy in Europe.

Someday….

I want a house in Wales or part of the UK. With goats- ok maybe just one goat. Some cute house on the coast where it’s foggy and cold but also beautiful. But for now I’ll settle for a little house a couple miles from grad school.

This house actually exists. And it’s so quite there at night compared to the city that my ears buzz from the lack of ambient noise. Hopefully they will stop buzzing after awhile…