Graduation from higher education should come with a mandatory reentry program. After two years, I am finally staring down the last course of my Masters program. All my hard work is about to pay off, and I’m about to get my life back. I also have no idea what to do with myself.
I’ll no longer have a paper or team project to blame for my absence from family functions or Miss O’s playdates. I’ll have to relearn how to have conversations that don’t involve a class lecture or citing my sources APA style. I won’t be able to torture my colleagues with the phrase “we just talked about this in school.”
I will not be graded on my performance. Who knew how well I respond to weekly point allocations? I was an excellent student in elementary school, tanked in middle school, brought it together in high school and well, college is college. I graduated and did so with a decent GPA by the blessings of the academic gods and the self-imposed hermitage I placed myself in senior year so I would actually graduate. When I promised my dad I would finish school, we never talked about my GPA, but I sure did lock in on a 4.0. Unfortunately, due to one A- it is mathematically impossible for me to reach a 4.0, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going down without a fight. My 3.9XX GPA will get as close as it possibly can. I’m still appalled that there’s no valedictorian for graduate school. Someone should really look into that.
I see all this extra time I will suddenly have and I have no idea what to do with. Honestly, it’s hard enough when school is on break for a week and I suddenly have nights free again. I have caught myself standing in the middle of my living room wondering what I’m supposed to be doing or what assignment I may have missed, knowing full-well that in that moment, I belong to no one. Freedom can be absolutely paralyzing.
Of course, when I do get a reasonable chunk of time to myself, I’m more likely to put on some comfy pants, grab a bag of chips and tuck in to some trashy TV than I am to solve any of my #firstworldproblems. Because, really, don’t I deserve a break after working so hard? If I can’t get myself together mid-week, what is it going to be like after two weeks? Or a month?
I’m a project junkie and I’m about to come down off Grad school to nothing. I realized I have no real hobbies anymore, just stuff I might like to do. If I read a book, I might feel compelled to write a synopsis of how the characters could have communicated better in whatever crisis they had and do a complete crisis management plan by the end of the week. I honestly don’t think I know how to enjoy myself anymore. I certainly don’t know how to sit still, though that’s always been a struggle.
In August we’re taking a family trip to Disney World.
I realized I’ve been approaching planning for it with the same vigor as many of my course final projects. I know I’m getting an A for preparation and, so far, my timeline is on point. I sincerely hope by August I’ve managed to re-acclimate to spending time with my family and enjoying myself.
If not, I’ll have to go back to school again and I’m pretty sure that relapse may kill me.
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