first semester of graduate school

ive surpassed like.. my own shame and guilt when it comes to school. initially, seeing all my high school classmates graduating with their bachelors made me feel immensely inadequate, thoughts of “that should be me. that could have been me” irritated and picked at me. but with some careful thought, i reevaluated my situation and theirs and now im just. truly genuinely happy for them. like its such an accomplishment and i can imagine how good it must feel to do the damn thing. even better, i know i can do it too. even if its not at the same time as everyone else. i 100% know i am capable now. honestly seeing my old classmates graduating has been inspirational to me. im so thankful for that because im not in school right now. i took a semester off (for the first time since graduating from high school) in order to gain some new perspective. in hopes of being re-inspired. i miss learning. and im just really happy for everyone who is graduating with any type of degree, at whatever age they are.

Some Thoughts on being a Spoonie Student

Here’s an annoying thing about spoonie studenthood: Nobody waits for you.

If you’re sick (well, sicker than usual), and you need a few days off, the class carries on without you.  If you have a flare and can’t finish a homework assignment on time, you can bet that more homework will be assigned while you’re trying to finish the previous assignment.  If, like me, you have a bad month where you can’t stay awake during the day due to crushing fatigue, well, you now have to try to make up a month’s worth of work and continue to do all your normal work at the same time.

We’ve been socialized to think that this is normal, okay, even desirable.  But, now that I stop and think about it, I’m pretty sure it’s just a load of crap.  The ultimate goal of school is not, in fact, to cover x amount of material in y amount of time.  Instead, the point of school is to educate students.

Pressuring students to complete work when they are too sick to function does not serve the goal of education.  Forcing everyone, despite our many differences, to learn the same material on the same schedule does not serve the goal of education.  Punishing disabled students for being unable to keep up with their abled peers does not serve the goal of education.

I know that my brain is up to the task of mastering the material in my educational program.  I am tenacious, a hard worker, and plenty intelligent.  But I am really struggling right now for not being allowed to proceed at my own pace.  Like I said, for a good month of my first semester of graduate school, I was too sick to really function.  (Not sick enough that I needed to be hospitalized or anything like that, but sick enough that I spent 12 hours a day in bed, frequently fell asleep in class, and could not keep up with my coursework.)  My health is doing better now, not good, but better than it was.  I can generally stay awake during the day, and my pain management plan is working pretty well again.  In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had to come to terms with exactly how far behind I am in my coursework.  And I’ve been pushing myself too hard and trying to catch up and in turn worsening my symptoms.  Let’s be clear: I have made choices that prioritize school over self-care, and, in that sense, I am 100% responsible for my own actions.  Those choices are not being forced on me, and I certainly have the ability to make better choices.  But, to do so requires that I override years of socialization along with my own perfectionism.  To do so requires that I tell my professors: “I’m still behind on work because of the month where I was really sick.  I’m trying to catch up, but I’m not there yet.  May I have an extension?”  And that’s not easy to do.  It’s not easy to admit you need help, and it’s even harder when years of living in society have taught you that you “should” be able to keep up/catch up.

I know that I need to find balance, to figure out how to keep applying myself to my schoolwork while respecting my physical and mental needs.  I’ve been swinging from one extreme to the other: spending several days frantically trying to finish an assignment and then collapsing in bed for the next 24 hours.  Today I slept through my alarm clock and all of my classes.  (Why was I so tired?  Because I had been really struggling to catch up in my graph theory course.)  And I need to write one of my professors to see if he will let me turn in my homework late.  I had it done, but I didn’t make it to class to turn it in.  (He should let me; both extra absences and extended deadlines are on my list of accommodations.)

Eight Nights of Light

From: @missmudpie

Happy Holidays, Victoria @sarahreesemd !  I hope you have a relaxing holiday break and that uni takes it easy on you in the new year.

A/N: While not Jewish, I did do research on Hanukkah customs.  If anything is inaccurate, please let me know, and I will make corrections.

The First Night

December 17, 2071

“Mom?  Mom?”

Felicity jerks, tearing her eyes away from Oliver playing dreidel with their youngest grandkids to look at her daughter. 

“You okay?” Ada asks.  “You were in your own little world for a minute there.”

“I’m fine,” Felicity answers, trying to brush away her concerns before he notices.  But of course he notices.  Oliver’s physical reflexes might have dulled over the years and decades, but his senses remain as sharp as ever.  She watches as he talks to the kids – whatever he tells them makes them giggle – before meeting her eyes.

“Come help me with something?” he says, which has been their code for Let’s talk about this in private since Tommy was three.

The kitchen still smells like apples and fried food; the oil still sits in the pan where they’d made the latkes earlier that evening.  Tommy’s youngest had listened intently as Oliver gave him instructions on how to flip them.  It reminded her of when Oliver had tried – in vain – to teach Ada the same thing, only for grease to splatter everywhere.

She’s been doing that all evening – remembering, reliving moments from the past, holding onto them tight least they slip away, as if –

“You have to stop looking at me like that,” Oliver says.

As if he’s already gone.

“I told you I feel fine.  You know the rule – no one in the hospital during Hanukkah.”

Keep reading

3

Quick and messy rendition of my two beautiful captain swan babies, because I realized how much I missed drawing them (and yes, I know the hook is on the wrong hand…this was done at 2 am this morning and it was only then that I realized my mistake).

I’m so sorry to all my followers for my long absence…my first semester of graduate school was brutal to my free time availability, hence my hiatus. But hello to all my new followers, and thank you to everyone who stuck around :) I’m excited because winter break = catching up on OUAT and CS doodle-time!!

Learn to Love "Grunt Work"
tbogus301 submitted:

Good afternoon! I’m not entirely sure how much I can contribute, but I thought I’d share some nuggets of wisdom that I’ve picked up following getting a BA in English.

I was accepted to graduate school eleven days before graduation. That was an interesting announcement. I was then given the opportunity for an unpaid educational internship with an educational consulting firm, whereupon I edited the company’s grammatically-challenged website, as well as some other projects that would prove to be useful. After that, I’ve worked in the wine industry, pool management, sales, and now I’m an office manager; yes, I still attend graduate school. One of my most recent projects involved editing a company policy manual, which was a big self-esteem boost. 

If you’re concerned that you’re “not good enough” to get into graduate school in English, here’s the thing. I wasn’t remotely prepared for my first criticism class, which is required and also recommended to be the first class incoming students take. I’ll be the first to admit that I felt confident at the end of my first semester of graduate school. Many of us know we’re intelligent but we suffer from impostor syndrome. So, my first suggestion is this: ask yourself if you really love reading, then writing, then reading more writing about what you were reading, then writing about all of that. If the answer is still yes, give graduate school in English a shot! 

Now, as far as jobliness advice with this apparently “useless” degree is concerned, aim to keep things in perspective. Yes, on the surface, it looks like you’re reading yet another translation of Beowulf for fun and that’s not a marketable skill. However, English majors are taught to look at the world through a more cohesive lens, seeing it sharply (editing your friends’ resumes) and then seeing it broadly (trying to make sense out of Bakhtin). You’re able to learn something quickly and present that knowledge intelligently (unless anyone else doesn’t start their papers at 4 AM the day they’re due). You’re able to realize that texts are vehicles of communication and are therefore up to interpretation, and the simply fact that you understand that concept makes you better at communication with your peers and clients by about 1500%. Highlight these skills during interviews and on your resume. Use buzz-words like “detail-oriented” and “develops effective research methods.”

This is your arsenal, your toolbox, your weapons bag. Use it. Be astounding. Do whatever you wish, and do it effectively. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. 

And above all things, never stop loving your passion.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this! I truly appreciate this well-articulated insight.

“I am so proud of what you have accomplished….we need to go to court so I can set up some kind of child support agreement with you…I will always love you kaleb and hannah and ezrah with all my heart….I cried all day on the 6th knowing my baby turned two and ive seen him once….supervised visitation I dont care I want to hold my son and let him know his daddy loves him greatly”

The last message from my youngest son’s father. We started dating when I was in my first semester of nursing school. When this message was sent, I had graduated and been working as a nurse for six months. Our relationship was rough and rocky, but even after we broke up I loved him with everything I had. Every day I miss him and regret that we weren’t on better terms before his death. He was 29 years old when he died. He went to sleep and never woke up. He left behind my son and 3 other children. He was an amazing daddy and his children’s lives will be sadder for his absence. 

I feel like a widow who didn’t have a husband. He died 2 years and 3 months ago.