Here’s something they didn’t tell you:
Graduate school is hard.
The work is hard, yes. The schedule is different, of course. You actually get to study what you want to study now, right? I suppose. But it is more than that. Graduate school is hard because you are caught in this interem between being a college student and being out in the working world–more specifically, having a life. We’re old enough to be married now. We’re old enough to have a steady income. We’re old enough to go out for a TGIF drink or a nightcap and not get carded. But we can’t. And if we do, it is a huge financial burden because we do not have money and/or we should be studying. Everything has to be put on hold. Just let me finish this paper– Just let me make it through this week– I know I can have more fun if I only can get to Christmas break– Hold up. Just let me finish my degree– Or worse (or perhaps better), the “oh shit. Is this really what I want to do at all?” realization.
It is different than undergrad because everyone was in the same situation before. We all knew we’d be studying on Sunday night. And the bars were right down the street anyhow. And none of us were married and no one could afford a decent night out. Plus, if you needed a hug you had someone with open arms only a few blocks away.
Friends with jobs are wondering why we can’t hang out more–why it is such an inconvenience for us to have dinner together, to see each other on the weekends. The reason, my friends, is because I work and/or go to school all day and THEN am expected to study when I get home. I don’t watch TV. I haven’t seen a movie in weeks. My weekends are booked until Christmas. And by booked, I mean I have something going on one day, and the other day I intend to run errands, maybe clean the bathtub, and then follow it up with numerous hours of coffee and library journals. I long to have a night free in which the burden of papers and projects isn’t looming its guilt above my head. I deeply desire to leave my work at work and have my evenings to do crazy things like read a magazine that isn’t involving libraries. Or write. Or have kids.
I know I’m not alone. And for those of you that have been hurting a lot lately, I hear you. And your pain is great. You are in my prayers.