Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Epiphanies and whatnot

This past week has been a strange one for me. Full of ups and downs, aided by the spawn of a bad cold and allergies taking up residence in my nose/chest/head/body. Actually, this whole month has been weird. Started insanely stressed out, to the point that I could hardly think, breathe, rest, knit, or anything else. No panic attacks, though, or the return of the horrible stomach problems that give me a weird taste in my mouth that peppered stressful times at my last job, or the stomach stabbing pains from England. I think that deserves a pat on the back for me. Maybe, just maybe, I’m learning to deal with my stress. Starting to, anyhow.

Then I thought I would be happy to be done. I was relieved, but at the same time, didn’t know what to do with myself. I hadn’t had free time in SO long. And I don’t mean like hours free time, I mean any. Practically every minute had been planned, leaving me completely exhausted and mentally drained by eight or nine or so. (Later if I had to work on papers. Which I did. Constantly. In which case I was still mentally exhausted, but plodding onward.) When I did all of a sudden get minor free time, my mind had stopped working, I was still remnant stressed out, and I could hardly stand to move. And then, unsurprisingly, I got the aforementioned beast of an illness. And discovered I had not gotten the grades I felt I had earned. In either class.

Which has been good for me. I know, why would something like that be good for me? It’s a strange phenomenon. Except. Except school has always been easy for me. Toss off a paper the night before it’s due, get an a minus. Put a tiny bit more effort into, get an a. When I graduated from undergrad, SB told me I needed to figure out who I was outside of school. Which I did relatively well, although it was a somewhat traumatic experience. Now I’m figuring out how to base my self esteem on myself, rather than outside accolades I never had to really strive for. Why do I need a grade to tell me how smart I am? I know how smart I am. I live with it and its effects every day. I know I can never get my mind to shut up, that I’m constantly analyzing and writing and rewriting things in my head. I know my ideas, my papers were pretty damn good. Not perfect, no, but why should they be? Given more time to focus on them, more guidance, they might get that way, but not the way school is set up. Plus, I’ve also come to realize that different universities teach different writing styles. And it is HARD to change that basic part of your writing to fit another. I don’t mean styles in how the sentences are formed or how the paper is structured. All English majors do that for nearly every class they have. I mean style as as basic as how you go about writing a paper, the way you form your thesis, the items you focus on in that paper. The nucleus of the paper, not the protons or neutrons. And that is what grad school is trying to change.

Then all of a sudden this week, I was spontaneously happy. I don’t know why, except maybe I feel like I am finally clicking with people (mostly the people in my program who are leaving, but whatever…). That and the whole previously described epiphany. It’s been nice.

Except that every day, I realize more and more that I want to live by myself. Not a slight to my current roommates, with whom I have many things in common except for personalities, which has made sharing a very tiny house interesting. But all that analyzing and rewriting and stuff? The thing that nearly shuts it up is being alone. I like, no, love to be alone. Not all the time, but I need to feel like I can shut myself away for a while, no interruptions, no judging. The more stressed out I get, the more I need that. And right now, that need is what I’m focused on. It makes it very hard for me to care about anything in relation to the house, but getting out. I need a change. Since I can’t afford my own place, I at least need new people to avoid.