You know you’re a grad student when…
staying up past 1am for non-school related purposes (i.e studying, researching or essay writing) is rarer than seeing a unicorn.
(copywrite Lisa Frank)
It’s late. I should have spent the evening working on research about the Democratic Republic of Congo and the economic ramifications of the 2nd large war before the peace declaration was signed. Or read one of the 14 books I’ve borrowed from the library about conflict, refugee education, and/or structural adjustment. But I didn’t. Instead, I skyped with family, and later with the now ex, that I talked about late last summer vaguely. I browsed the likes of zappos.com, amazon.co.uk, and katespade.com. I had a completely lazy evening, and it was wonderfully anti-climatic.
Tomorrow I know I will have to spend the day in the library doing all the things I’ve put off, but it was nice to breathe tonight. I spent time going through a ton of photos from various trips over the years, laughing at some, and smiling with fond memories at others. Looking back even just five years – 2008, who was I? Did I think I’d be here, ever, let alone now?
Five years ago I was just getting my feet wet. On the verge of going to Europe again, feeling like my life as an undergraduate was never going to change. I was in a loop of various emotions in my personal life, and the only thing I was sure of was my career.
And now, it seems like everything has flipped. My life as a graduate student is 7 weeks, an exam and a dissertation away from being over – already. I’m not going to Europe, I live spitting distance away (crude image, I know) – literally 40 minutes (by plane) to Amsterdam. There is no loop of various emotions in my personal life. I am far more rational than I was, or at least I’d like to think so. I have experienced what it has been like to meet that person you can see yourself marrying and having a full, entwined life with. And I have no qualms for the how and why it ended; simply knowing that it was capable to feel it and have it returned has been enough for now.
I’m not sure what my future holds for my career. I would love to go back to doing what I was doing at my old company. I miss it like a type of home sickness. I miss the people, the job itself, the atmosphere. But who knows what’s in store. I look at current openings there and at other organizations I’d love to be a part of now and then but I’m trying to focus more on the present instead of falling onto the bad habit of not enjoying the present until it is the past.
And then I think of the possibility of getting a Ph.d. And I think of all the downsides, 5 years in the US, 3 years here. I wouldn’t be done until I was 32, 33 more likely as most deadlines have passed – and that’s if I stayed here for it. I’d be 35 more like, if I pursued a program in the states. And I think about the workload now, the pressure now, and the stress of being a Ph.d student trying to publish and contribute and I wonder if it’s in me. Would I love to be Dr. So-and-So? Sure, it’s nice to think about, but where will it get me? Do I want to be an academic? No, not particularly. But a Ph.d would get me a long way in my desired career; of course it would delay that jumpstart by quite a bit.
Then again I don’t have to figure it all out right now. And I know that.
The point of all of this?
This is why grad students shouldn’t stay up past 1am – because then such babbling occurs.