Wow friends, grad school is really going to swallow me whole.
I'm mostly ok with that, because the vitality that comes from being stretched makes me feel much more alive.
But wow. The reading.
I'm not sure what I expected, exactly. But whatever it was, I'm sure it was naive.
I am a relatively fast reader, which is good. But nobody is fast when they are regularly interrupted. I've tried very hard to carve out some study time in the afternoons while the Captain is at preschool, but the carving looks like this: I will study while my two youngest children nap. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him take a nap, or stay asleep. So I'm easily sabotaged. Plus preschool hours would be inadequate anyway, even if I could get the stars to align.
Naturally Bunny was sick for my first week of school. Never in her short life has she been so whiny, clingy, demanding, or unpleasant. My first few study days out of the gate were a stumble.
So every spare moment that I can squeeze out of my life is devoted to academic reading. Which is not the worst way to spend my time, but it's far from recreational. I'm not reading anything where the pages seem to turn themselves and I wish there was more when it ends. I'm reading things that require intense concentration to make meaning out of. Frequently things with quasi-bloated language in the name of appearing scholarly and serious. Dictionary at the ready, reading out loud and often re-wording things for myself so they seem more straightforward and accessible.
Partly because of interruption I anticipate spending 10+ hours reading, plus 3-5 more writing each week, just to stay on top of the weekly expectations. My final projects, papers, and presentations will be in addition to that. It is intense, for me in my shoes. I was certainly not spending 15-20 hours each week wondering what to do with all my free time.
Good news is that everyone else in my program is equally overwhelmed by it. They all have demanding full time jobs and personal lives. There is some solidarity in our collective panic.
But underneath my anxiety I am loving this. Being in this place at this time fills a part of my soul that has ached for a long time now. Despite being perpetually stressed, and never able to get far enough ahead to relax, I am feeling whole. Having such structured purpose to my days is a boon for this lady who couldn't seem to mean business about making up (and keeping) rules and deadlines and schedules for herself when she was her own boss.
You have to understand that studying media is not as fun as it sounds, but is still more fun than studying just about anything else. Tonight (Thursday) we discussed the scope of our class, touched ever so briefly on a broad array of theory and criticism paradigms, and then watched Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. I do have to write a paper about it, but still, you're jealous.
I apologize to the world in advance for all the balls I'm likely to drop. I shall be prioritizing my immediate family, and then school, and then everything else. The everything else is bound to suffer, when nearly every moment of every day is already spoken for.
Such a stretching, growing, freak-out of an experience. But wow, how empowering is it to think that maybe I can pull it off? It's a thought - almost a dare - that's keeping me going for now.
And as a P.S. - I have to create a blog for one of my classes and post to it each week. Watch for it in the sidebar if you're interested.