Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rambling: Procrastinating at Starbucks


(Disclaimer: I'm doing enough writing and proofreading right now that I'm not going to bother proofreading this post for spelling or grammatical errors. So if you catch one, consider yourself smarter than a grad student hyped up on espresso and typing as fast as her fingers can fly to catch her stream of consciousness ramblings. Job well done.)

So, it's once again that point in the semester where there's about 3 and a half weeks to go, and I don't even have introductions to my papers written, let alone any actual, substantive content. Rough drafts are due starting next week and yet, oddly, I'm not panicking. Rather, I'm sitting in a Starbucks, with another hour and a half before I have to be to my hair appointment, procrastinating online. I'll play with my seminar paper draft for a few sentences and then look up research online (it doesn't help that my subject is very fashion and image driven and I need to look up some of this stuff for the purposes of the paper). It's very easy to get distracted.

I love the subject I chosen, but my problem (as always) is that I know I don't have enough time to really dive into it. It kind of paralyzes me a bit. That and the fact that my copy of the proposal is covered with notes in the margins from my meeting with my professor. Take a look:

Between what I originally wrote in my proposal, and all my chicken-scratch in the free space around the margins there are so many thoughts running around I hardly know where to start. And I've never been good at sitting and staring at the blinking line on the screen until "inspiration" strikes. So when I don't know what to write next, I do something else. Like write a new blog post.

Grad school really is a funny thing. It's an absolute beast sometimes, just chewing you up and spitting you out. Other times it's like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole into a weird, wild, and wonderful Wonderland. Where else can you look at photos of Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama, Princess Diana, and Princess Catherine and all the amazing clothes and gowns they wore and call that research!?

Or design curriculum for a class on writing online for social media?

Or analyze documents written in the 1850s debating whether or not it's proper for women to wear the "Bloomer" costume? (Women have ankles? Scandalous!)

I don't ever want to sound like I'm complaining, because I'm not (even when I actually kind of am) because I would rather be pulling my hair out writing a paper than doing just about any other job.

People often say to me, "You must really love school!" or question, "Why would you put yourself through more school?" My response is always, yes, I do love school. I love being in an environment that constantly pushes me to learn more, about myself, about the past, about our present, our future, what I think about current issues, and so much more. I LOVE being in a place and surrounded by people who aren't satisfied with what they already know but are constantly searching for what they DON'T know. Where knowledge and the search for knowledge is valued and where admitting that you don't know something is the first step in an amazing journey towards finding the answer and where sometimes you have to admit that there's isn't an answer after all (but wasn't it so fun finding that out?).

Friends and family compliment me often about how "smart" they think I am. Which is very flattering, truly. But one thing you learn when you enter grad school is how smart you AREN'T. :) Weird concept, I know.

Last semester, a professor told our class the following (which I'm paraphrasing a little):

High school is where you think you know everything. During your undergrad you realize there's a lot you don't know, but you still try to hang on to your confidence. Grad school is where you finally realize (if you're smart) that you don't know anything at all.

It's so true. And you won't get anywhere if you hang on to the idea that you already know everything. I mean, if you really did, why would you be spending five figures or more in tuition and books every year?

I've seen people look at me with sick expressions at the thought of the amount of school work I do. I can usually tell who had a miserable time in college based on the looks they give me. But as stressful as it can get (and it does get really stressful in these last few weeks) I wouldn't trade it for anything and my work and research have become such a huge part of who I am as a woman that to not be a part of this environment would be like cutting out a part of me.

So yeah, that's why I do what I do, why I take the highs and the lows. Because there's nothing else like it and nowhere else gives me that feeling of belonging like I get when I set foot on a college campus . . . I'm home.

Alright, enough procrastination. One more hour before my appointment, one more hour to fall down the rabbit hole.

2 comments:

  1. SO TRUE about high school, undergrad, and grad!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know, I loved when she told us that. It's so true!

    ReplyDelete