I’ve been kind of an idiot this week and I think it’s because I’m starting my master’s degree today. I don’t remember if I’ve even mentioned that yet on here and I also don’t remember if I’m supposed to capitalize the “m” in “master’s” or whether the apostrophe goes before or after the “s” or even if there’s an apostrophe at all and at this point I’m too proud to Google it because I already have, like, ten other times and all of this leads me to conclude that I should absolutely not be starting my master’s tomorrow.
The loans have already been disbursed, though, so it looks like this train is chugging forward whether I’m ready for the drop or not. (That was a mixed train/roller coaster metaphor. I’m not qualified to be in grad school.)
Anyway, I currently have nearly enough time for most of the things I’m already doing, and in spite of having frizzy hair and being an annoying know-it-all I am not Hermione Granger and I do not possess a time-turner loaned to me by the Minister of Magic so the moral is: I’m boned.
My master’s program is completely online, which is phenomenal and convenient for those of us who are self-inflicted, overscheduled disasters except that, in addition to being a self-inflicted overscheduled disaster, I’m also a gratuitous procrastinator and just distractable and generally a child.
Like, of the nine items on my to-do list for last night the only two I accomplished were writing a draft of this blog and going to Target, and I don’t even know why I put “go to Target” on my to-do list because I do that almost every day regardless. I also only went to Target because I wanted ice cream and better smelling deodorant, even though I already have other ice cream and bad smelling deodorant (which does exactly what deodorant needs to do and doesn’t even smell that bad).
I’m in the middle of two books as well – one of which is David Foster Wallace’s Infinite god damn Jest, which is a 900-page delusional catastrophe that I’m hardly 200 pages into but way too proud to give up on – and I just borrowed a third book from a coworker. I also bought three new ones at Target last week because I’m not kidding when I say I go to Target every fucking day.
Not the Target near my house, either. Even though that Target is hardly a mile away, I drive twenty minutes north into San Jose to go to Target because I don’t want to run into students and/or their families while I’m buying four boxes of cereal and some ice cream cones in my pajamas.
The solution could be to not wear pajamas out in public, or only buy one box of cereal at a time, or not care what other people thought of me but of course I’ll change none of those things, just like I won’t stop committing to new books before I’m done with old books or copy-and-pasting things from the “to-do tonight” list to the “to-do tomorrow” list on my desktop.
Have I mentioned yet that I am zero percent confident in my ability to handle being a student again?
Actually, wait. I think that’s just my anxiety talking. I think it might actually be okay.
When I think of anyone I know who’s going or has gone to grad school, it’s always at a hectic point in their life. A friend who’s halfway through her master’s just popped out a baby; another friend just moved across the country while writing, revising, and defending her thesis; my mom had three kids, a full-job as an outreach worker, and a divorce to juggle with her graduate-level coursework.
So, no amount of Target shopping or unread books can be scapegoated into justifying why I fall behind or fail at this step in my life. I’m not growing or raising any kids; I’m not uprooting my life; I’m not going to let myself be my own excuse when others have made it happen with what could become a much better excuse than “I needed to finish this book and go to Target.”
It’s not about comparison; it’s about perspective. I might not be germinating or cultivating any human babies, but my days aren’t just filled with superfluous trips to Target: I pour my heart into my job every day, then pour a few more hours of the rest of me (since my heart is usually empty by about 4 PM) into it once I get home. Yes, I’ve been sitting on a stack of recommendation letters for the last four months, and yes I could have written all 35 of them over the summer, and yes the fact that I now have to write 50 is entirely because I decided not to say “NO” to students until, like, last week, and sure I know I have to write all of them by next Friday…
But I will write them, and I’ll still find time to go to Target, and I’ll slowly pick through the growing heap of partially books, and I’ll even make time even sit and stare at nothing. And amid all of that, I will also figure out how to make my grad school work happen, and happen well, because I have a legacy of whole-assers to look up to and zero excuses for half-assing any part of this.