It’s a steady push to the end folks. I’m clawin’, scratchin’ and most of all prayin’ to get to the end of this semester, which officially ends tomorrow night. I still have some big assignments on the table, and challenge is daunting. After going all semester it’s important to have enough gas at the end to power through the finish line.
Posts Tagged ‘tired’
Well kids, we’re at that point in the semester.
The point where you are in the mick and muck of it all and trying to push forward to see daylight with no cracks in sight.
The point where you say “oh crap” because you realize the semester is closing soon, and while that should be a good thing, you also realize that those term papers are coming due as well.
The point where it seems like due dates are stacked like Jenga and you’re trying to keep the puzzle together without having the whole thing fall apart.
Yes folks, we’re at that point.
Prayers are appreciated.
Flicker…flicker flicker. Blink.
That’s me. I don’t know if it’s a rough spot in the semester or what, but I feel like I’m burning out. This finance class (elements of finance) has really gotten to me and I want to just throw my hands up and say “I’m done.” Work is very interesting and part-time, but just because I’m not on the clock doesn’t mean there isn’ t stuff that needs to get done. Throw the TA gig on top of that, my other courses, Toastmasters, and oh yeah, my personal life. Let’s sprinkle in the search for a PDR client and the ever-encroaching employment search and we’ve got ourselves a full pot of stew!
Of course, this is the situation that I’ve chosen. I realize that. No one made me take a job, apply to be a TA, take the courses I’m taking, or go to grad school at all. Seems weird to vent/complain/stress about a situation of my own choosing. But then again most of our situations in life are of our own choosing. That’s a larger conversation so we’ll leave that point for another time. But back to grad school blues…
I think that being in the third semester of a four-semester (full-time) program probably brings a certain stress, and next semester I’m sure will bring a whole other set of stress. I just registered for spring classes today so that probably adds to the mix. As I move through this semester I’ve begun to reflect on my academic experience. It’s probably somewhat premature to do a postmortem since I’m not even 75% through the program, but at this point my classes are decided for the most part. There’s no more “ooh maybe I’ll take that class.” And since my classes are pretty set at this point, it’s easy to begin thinking about what kind of skills I’m going to graduate with. Also, for the PDR, we’re supposed to use the skills we’ve gained at Milano to produce this professional report.
At this point I’m not sure I’ve taken the right courses. I mean I’ve taken the courses that meet graduation requirments, that’s not the issue. My question is whether my course work reflects my true desires of what I want to do with my life. The reality is that choosing classes to set up your career can be much more difficult than one might think. Everyone comes to grad school with certain dreams and desires. As you gain experience and skills your original dreams and desires might change, but you don’t get more electives to balance it out. Then you start thinking about classes that you took (or are taking currently) that maybe you weren’t/aren’t really into and you question it. Then the program might offer some brand new elective that wasn’t available when you came in, and you have to figure out if you can use your precious remaining credits on it – and if it meets your interests better than the course track you’ve already planned out during previous semesters. Just to spice it up, there may be a tension between getting tools (hard skills courses like finance) to courses that are just interesting but don’t necessarily provide you with a marketable skill (other than reading and writing). So in a way the academic experience is a negotiation between past, present, and future selves.
This is it: one week from now, my PDR will be turned in to my advisor, my final paper for another class submitted, and I will put the final touches on my fellowship report.
It’s a battle to stay focused right now because there are so many things up in the air: job applications, these papers, my ongoing day-job tasks, and how I’ll survive after graduation until I do get a job. At this point, my fantasy is to celebrate quietly and enjoy getting some rest.
As exciting and nerve-wracking as this time is, it’s also a little bittersweet. My entering cohort has largely graduated, and each year has felt so distinct an experience that my whole time at Milano feels even longer than the three years it has been. It’s been such an important place and time for me, and every so often I’m struck by that too.
Good luck to all of us as we’re wrapping up our projects this week!
Yes, I am still alive out here in Grad School Land.
I knew this second half of my final term would be busy–my naive fantasy of a calmer existence was blown quite awhile ago–and it is not disappointing.
For most of the past few weeks, the intensity of my respective projects and jobs has been increasing, which will make me feel accomplished, say, later this summer. At the moment, it just makes me very tired.
PDR, or Professional Decision Report/final master’s project: research is ongoing and has me so entrenched in solar energy as a topic that I’ve begun speaking in odd technical lingo (you know, “a-Si thin-film vs. CVP” etc.) and my long-ago and far-away science teachers and professors might be happy to know that for the most part I’ve had a terrific time reading technical reports and geeking out on diagrams. The government impact studies, on the other hand…
Fellowship: Data requested months ago arrived. Last week. Not my client’s fault, but I may have shook my fist at the sky momentarily before pulling out my solar-powered calculator. I may have also daydreamed about the diagram I found explaining exactly how a solar calculator was a step forward in PV technology.
My Job: Talib decided to live-blog career services’ last alumni panel, so that was not a shameless plug I initiated. (Great idea, by the way!) We have a couple more of those panels upcoming as well as an event I’m quite excited about, a three-hour collection of mini-sessions showcasing our services. If you’re looking for an internship, about to graduate, and/or wondering how to stay sane in either case, please do stop by for one or two of those hour-long sessions at Lang Student Center next Friday from 10-1. (Now THAT was a shameless plug.) Planning for those events takes up quite a bit of time these days.
Classes, generally: I’ve come to think of class sessions as quiet time during which I can think hard about complex issues, and I cherish those moments since I know they have an expiration date. I am also feeling less like a student and more a working professional/consultant these days, so there is a certain oddity to those.
Career Search: Oh yes. It has commenced in earnest. (If you’d like to hire me, particularly for a writing-intensive position, please feel free to drop a line. I have broad interests and a burgeoning live-tweeting practice). I have a rule I’ve largely stuck to this semester, which is to have at least one “career-related” meeting a week–an informational interview, appointment at career services, or check-in with a professor; attend one event per week at which I’ll talk to a couple of new people, and to spend time on the “thinking” and “searching” work weekly as well. (Meaning: that “touchy-feely” introspective and reflective piece of employment search). Those stolen hours, and I do mean stolen, are the most difficult to carve out of my days but to me among the most important as we get closer to May.
Otherwise: also stolen, but necessary, are those self-care/fun elements which include time with my writing mentee, exercise, meditation, yoga, and even sharing a drink or two with a friend. Those things are sometimes only 20 minutes of my day, but they make all the difference.
With that, I am off to another writing/media project. I would like to promise a return to weekly posting for me, but we’ll see; I suspect you could simply lather, rinse, repeat the above and get the gist of my life until late May. It is nerve-wracking, exciting, exhausting, and even, at moments, a happy time.
How tiring and consumed by research is my life these days?
Today I was skimming a public administration journal and came across an article title referencing “pirates” and Pittsburgh.
“When did PIRATES ever go to PITTSBURGH?”, I thought. “What would possess them to take the Monongahela?
Then I remembered these guys, the BASEBALL TEAM:
Right. As a sports fan, that is just embarrassing.
I’m still trying to catch up from my Lost Days of Flu, so am scheduled nonstop for most of the rest of the next two weeks. In some ways, zipping from one client project to the next, I’m seeing flashes of what will become my final deliverables and products, which is inspiring. I’m also finally gleaning insights into my specific challenges to overcome as an independent consultant–such as learning how to gauge how much information clients need, and when. (Not that I’m into withholding anything, but there is such a thing as polished presentation.) Communication is a beautiful thing.
Hope all is well out there in grad-school land. Someone out there get some sleep for me, will ya?
Special Announcement from Kristen on behalf of myself and Eulalia: we are fine, we are just really, really, extremely, happily, very, busy and while we love all of you, we haven’t had time to write about all of our fabulous adventures over the past month. We’re sorry, but not as sorry as we’d be if things weren’t going well.
Soon, we’ll post and try to make some amends to get out of the Bloggers Doghouse. Seriously, who knew people actually read this? Kidding aside, thank you for your concerned emails and notes and in-person cajoling. Much appreciated.
Eulalia and I ran into each other the other day and chatted about this (this = our blogging delinquence) and just started laughing, because, well, what else are we to do? This has been a very exhausting, invigorating, inspiring, and provocative term so far. I am close to finally having a “schedule” for it, in fact. In November. Which means my to-do list from August is now finally finished. In November. Good news: I went ahead and just wrote a new list FOR November, so now I am WAY AHEAD on things like “getting a PDR client” or “my public finance midterm preparation”. For the record, that is what we call “spin”.
I am still reading, hearing and thinking about many new ideas and skills and reflecting upon or refining some old ones. My fellowship is finally (fingers crossed!) going to begin later this week and it looks like things are going in a good direction there; my campus job keeps me busy but feeling helpful; my classes remain interesting; every week my post-unemployment “transition” is closer to being finished and I become more articulate later into the evening. (Here’s a “happy problem” to be aware of, you other long-term unemployed folk: when you re-enter a work routine, you may feel as though you have been hit by a truck regardless of how busy you have kept yourself. I was running a few miles per day, practicing yoga, writing, etc, etc., and I still became a frighteningly gifted impersonator of a Valley Girl by my 6 p.m. classes. That is easing. Now I just sound like one after 7:30.)
Here’s to more of the same great fall term greatness! (But with more blogging.)
Kristen (and Eulalia)
I don’t know how much sense I can make of this past week’s experiences volunteering at the Clinton Global Initiative, not so much owing to their mind-boggling complexity as much as their overwhelmingly exhausting impact on my intellectual function. Oh, and their surreal circumstances.
I actually had a dream last night in which I walked in on Bill Clinton and Christiane Amanpour having some sort of intense interview and spilled a cup of coffee on myself. If you know me, you’re no doubt wondering, so I’ll spare you the suspense. I dropped a ladle with gorgonzola sauce, a cup of water, and a few drops of salad dressing on my blouse over the course of last week, but no one was injured, seriously embarrassed, or even (so far as I know) all that aware of my reliable sometimes-klutziness. Nor did I trip and fall off of my heels into any heads of state or supermodels. So it’s all good.
I spent most of my time helping the other few hundred volunteers scan participants and attendees with these gun-shaped wands that looked like something out of Star Trek. Reading the bar-code on people’s credentials ensured that…..well, lots of stuff which is not interesting, nefarious, or anything to be concerned about. I promise. Just tedious, boring, and yes, I’m still dreaming about scanning you AS WE SPEAK. General Wesley Clark, that means you.
Some of the time, I monitored the comings and goings of people into more high-profile areas, or at least areas where more high-profile attendees congregated. While standing in a doorway hoping my stomach growling wasn’t distracting anyone, a couple of people urgently asked me if I’d seen Maggie. Maggie Gyllenhaal. I have seen her, around New York, but not in that room on that day, and I told them so. Then I went and mused on a what a strange turn my days took this week. Strange, fun, silly, and yes, even a bit inspiring. Women who are working to advocate for women in Afghanistan, from groups I first encountered back in the late 1990s and who have survived–and helped others do so–for this long, have me thoroughly humbled and quite aware of how comparatively ridiculous a thing celebrity spotting is.
Overall? I think I should have not worked so many hours, but like many of the other volunteers, I mistook a question on the application about availability as desired actual hours and then was unsure What Would Happen if I changed them. It was a little much in terms of amount of time out of my week, particularly since (and let me be clear, I totally KNEW and ACCEPTED this part of things ahead of time) the tasks involved weren’t going to be new, constantly engaging, etc. for me. In point of fact, by the time this gig came about, I had already been hired to start (and have, thank you very much) one of my new jobs, so this week inadvertently became a little costlier than I had intended.
However, I did meet some people who have already helped shed light on some of what I may be doing in an upcoming fellowship, and the people-watching was admittedly fascinating. I even got to meet some of my fellow “tweeps” (Twitter followers and/or groups I check out) which was equally terrific.
Honestly, the most thrilling moments in my week were probably seeing Mary Robinson striding into rooms several times. Being an Irish woman, my initial thought was actually how much she resembles some of my aunts (or they her?!) followed by such excitement, as I so respect and admire her work. In fact, there were so many inspiring women in attendance that I feel nothing but thrilled for my niece and the women coming after us. We’re working as hard as we can to make it a better, healthier, safer world for you and your counterparts from Afghanistan to India to South Africa to New Orleans. We all deserve it.
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged career changing, confidence, coping grad school, fellowships, first year, graduate school, internships, job hunts, jobs, Milano, student life, summer vacation, time management, tired on August 25, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Growing up there were always those kids who relished the last day of school. They counted every day, hour, second until the final ringing of the bell and the opportunity to loosen the tie and to get out the ‘monkey suit’ commonly known as our school uniform. For me I knew that summer just meant a different schedule, but structure none the less. By college I regarded summer break as the opportunity to process and store away the previous semester before returning to the trough in the Fall. Part of the beauty of having 4 years to complete undergrad is if you fall of track you have time to get back on track … or at least a summer or two to find your way back.
This June as I finished up my first semester I found myself exhausted. Mostly mentally exhausted but by proxy a little bit physically exhausted. For my first semester I expected more reading. I expected a scheduling that would be a challenge having hoofed it from 9 to 5 for the last few years. I expected a learning curve for writing, and most of all I expected to be physically exhausted by the end of the semester. What I definitely didn’t expect was the group process to kick my tail. It challenged me at times, it begged me to catch up at other times and most of all by the end of the semester I realized it had enriched what I learned through the course readings. By June I had transformed into one of those kids counting off the days to the ‘official’ start of summer. I spent a few weeks trying to get back some semblance of my pre-grad school schedule. I spent another few weeks decompressing….and boy was that fun. But before I knew it I was hit with the panic.
For the full time (2 year program) student you have one summer to make sure you haven’t fallen off track, aren’t about to fall off track or to figure out what your track should be. Many, arguably most paid internships take place during the summer (corporations/organizations use paid internships geared towards grad students as a stop gap on projects during the summer months when salaried employees are often using vacation time). Besides the internship route summer makes an excellent time for figuring out post program fellowships. By the time I decompressed and before I knew it…it was July and I had 35 days left to summer.
Of course by July most paid internships are gone. While I’ve squandered part of my summer and have lost some internship opportunities I’ve been plugging away with figuring out the post-school-fellowship-thing. Also to make sure I am on track to finish up strong in my program I have been reworking my resume, updating my interview skills, working references, looking for spring or (next) summer internship opportunities that I will be able to parlay into employment opportunities …. cause the job market is no joke. While summer is about decompressing it is more about keeping focus for year 2 and staying on track to capitalize on the grad school experience.
ONE MORE WEEK.
We’re gearing up to complete our final exams, turn in the PDR’s, and cheer for some of you terribly lucky, hard-working and deserving people as you graduate. Quite a hectic couple of weeks, no?
To that end, I hope that everyone stays as calm as possible as we near the Big Finish. I will not be taking a course this summer, and as the job hunt continues, I will also be working on some creative writing projects that have been put on the back burner for far too long. I can’t afford to travel, sadly, so I’ll leave it to some of you to do so and report back.
Good luck–and I’ll be back soon as we wish two of our bloggers a fond farewell.