Sunday, September 2, 2012

New semester!

It's the start of a new semester!  As Dickens would say, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  Ok, so Dickens wasn't talking about starting a new semester of school, and maybe I'm not yet to the "worst" of times yet, but that is coming, just you wait and see.

I probably shouldn't say that, I should be positive right?  Maybe this semester I'll be able to keep my positive attitude.  Maybe?  I've basically been in school more almost as many years as I've been alive, save the first five before kindergarten, the year I took before undergrad (though I was still a part time student during this time) and my first graduate program, and the three between my first Masters and the one I'm working on now.  So if we combine the 1/2 time of kindergarten and the 1/2 time of between undergrad and Masters #1, that's basically 24 years (out of 31) that I've been in school.  8 1/2 of which has been devoted specifically to one college degree or another.  Those numbers would lead a person to believe that I'm either ridiculously smart (wrong answer!) or that I love to torture myself (ding, ding, ding!!!! give yourself a prize).

Actually, truth be told, the undergraduate degree was done as a formality (you have to have a Bachelor's before you can get a Masters) and the first Masters was a necessity to be able to teach at the college level, which is what I really want to do.  Masters #2?  Yeah, that was a fluke.  I wasn't expecting to do this, I really wasn't.  But since I switched my focus from film to English, getting some extra background before going on to get a PhD seemed like the smart thing to do.  Of course that means one more year of this program and then at least 5 years for the doctoral program.  

Come on, you know you're jealous.

Ok, maybe not.  I know for some people school is like prison.  Fortunately I actually really love it.  Well, when I'm not inundated with reading, papers, deadlines, meetings with professors, keeping up with physical in-person classes and online classes, juggling a thesis project........

I'm tired already and I'm only two weeks in.  Every semester I look at my master to-do list and think, "This is it, this is the semester where I finally crack and they put me in a padded room where I bounce around the walls, muttering to myself incoherently."

Then the end of the semester comes around, I wearily submit my final papers, thinking this is the time when I finally get that failing grade (which in grad school means I get a B instead of an A).  Well, technically that day did come this summer, when I earned the crushing grade of a B- in my foreign language requirement course, but since that wasn't part of my core English classes I'm going to live in denial and claim a core GPA of 3.98.  (Can you believe ASU counts +'s and -'s?!  Me neither.)

Anyway, my point is, that as a grad student, I (like everyone else) am remarkably insecure about my academic work.  I always have been.  We all are.  It's the grad school curse.  I'm slowly learning to live with it, but I am starting to think that we need some sort of support therapy group where we have to take turns saying out loud, "I am good enough, I am smart enough, and by George, I WILL finish this degree! 

Ok, maybe not, but we should at least meet regularly in a quiet, non-school environment, and remind each other that we're smart, rational people, who were chosen for this program for a reason so we must be at least moderately special or we wouldn't have been accepted.  Is that too much to ask?

Another thing I try to do each semester is start off with buying myself something fun/pretty/positive that will keep me going throughout the 16 weeks.  Last semester (Spring of 2012) it was my Zatchels satchel (click here if you missed it).  It was sort of a start of semester/birthday present and I carried it to nearly every class, as both student and teacher.

This semester I went smaller.  I'm not usually a bracelet person, but when I saw this bracelet from Kate Spade, I knew I had to have it. 



On the outside it reads, "joie de vivre n.fr. a keen enjoyment of living." I knew this would be an important concept to keep in mind this semester.  All last year my motto was "Keep Calm and Carry On," just like the old WWII morale campaign in Britain.  My day planner had the red and white image on it's cover and it was a daily reminder to just stay calm and get on with things.  This year I wanted something to remind me to not only keep calm, but to also enjoy life!  This bracelet seemed like the perfect little reminder.

Part of a collection designed by blogger and illustrator Garance Doré for Kate Spade, it's simple enough to wear on a daily basis but the message is strong enough to have an impact.  It's also a wonderful representation of the feeling I get when I read Garance's blog.  If you haven't discovered her yet, click here.  
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Don't worry, I'll wait.  
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Seriously!  Go check her out!
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Ok, are you back?  Isn't her blog amazing?!  I love it.  Reading her blog is like taking a vacation or chatting with an old friend.  It's not just a fashion blog, it's so much more!  She definitely seems to live with "joie de vivre" and when you read her blog it becomes infectious.  Which is what I love about this bracelet.  It allows me to carry that idea around with me all day and helps me to remember to enjoy things and not get too crazy about life.

Enjoying life is so important but it's something that we easily let slip by the wayside as we get distracted by all of our daily responsibilities and obligations.  I think it's important for us to find something that can serve as a reminder to slow down, enjoy life, to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.  For me that's what this bracelet represents.  For you it might be something else, but I think you owe it to yourself to find what it is and keep it close.

And now, it's time to get back to reading, lesson planning, grading, etc.  New season of the Arizona Costume Institute is about to start, more information on that coming soon.  

2 weeks down, 14 more to go.  Wish me luck!  

4 comments:

  1. I still want one of those satchels!!

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    1. You need to get one! You deserve it...you're EARNED it! :) I'm such a bad, er, I mean good, influence!

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  2. I just started Grad School at ASU and it is KILLING me. I don't know how you're doing 2 Masters degrees.

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    1. Well fortunately I'm not doing them at once. I learned a lot during my first one a few years ago that's really helping me in my current one. What's really going to kill me is doing the PhD next. :/

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