Yesterday marked one year since I jetted off to Connecticut to spend the summer working at an amazing summer program at Yale. I remember how afraid I was for many reasons (fear of flying only being one small part), but it was such a phenomenal experience. It really doesn’t feel like it was a year ago already…it literally feels like it was yesterday. I miss all those people so much, and according to their Facebook statuses a lot of them just got back on campus to get ready for this summer’s program. I’m
a little bit a lot bit jealous. I can’t wait until I’ve worked in my job long enough to get at least 4 weeks of vacation time so I can go back and work for at least one of the sessions….that is still a few years away.
That was such an amazing learning experience for me on so many levels, and it was a freaking blast.
Only 5 pages left of a 10 page final paper to write by Monday at noon, and then I am done with grad school forever*!
*or until I decide to apply to a Ph.D or second master’s degree program. I dare not say it’s my last class ever because I already have my eye on classes to take in the fall just for fun because I’m a nerd like that.
This is the final installment of my “Kate Writes Her Thesis" series, because IT’S DONE!
Today was the day….the thesis is due. It’s been submitted, and although I’m sure there are still a million things I could do to revise it, I’m letting it go. It’s done. I thought it would be a lot more cathartic than it actually is, but maybe that’s because I still have one 10-page paper left to do for another class next Monday, so I’m not really done. But I’m done with the biggest assignment of my academic career to date, and that makes me happy :)
Two weeks from tonight I will officially be done with grad school (as in all my work will be submitted…graduation isn’t for awhile still, but all the legwork will be done). My thesis is due in one week, but I hope to have it done by this weekend so I can knock out my other final paper quickly.
Holy crap. This is such a weird feeling. I’ve never not been a student. I’m seriously considering looking into therapy for a few post-grad appointments to learn how to be a real person.
Obsessing Over: My cat. I haven’t seen her in over two weeks. My parents are keeping her while I finish grad school since she’s had some issues peeing on things she couldn’t (mainly pillows). She needs to be watched 24/7 and with work and class I can’t do it right now.
Working On: Nothing right now, but I should be writing my thesis. it’s due in 14 days.
Thinking About: whether I want to make a quick stop at IKEA on my way to work this morning. Last night I decided I want a step stool.
Anticipating: The long weekend…it’s still five days away
Listening To: Design on a Dime. I haven’t seen this show in years.
Drinking: Diet Pepsi. My parents don’t have coffee and I need caffeine because Calliecakes (my cat) woke me up at 5am wanting to play.
Wishing: That it was June 10th at 12:01pm when I will officially be done with graduate school.
I just sent my first email over a national association’s listserv. It was slightly terrifying. I’ve never proofread a two sentence email so hard in my life.
I haven’t done one of these since early December. Since it’s the first day of April, I figured it’d be a good time to check in with myself.
Obsessing Over: Cute spring clothing and all the sunshine we’ve had recently. I’m so ready to put away my Uggs and Bean boots and bring out cute flats and dresses.
Working On: About to start hardcore revising my literature review for my thesis. The revisions are due on Friday and I won’t have any other time this week to really work on it. I’m using a vacation day at work so I can plug away at it.
Thinking About: How much work I still have left to do on the lit review. The faculty domain of it is being a pain in my ass. I can’t figure out what my literature should be talking about, which makes lit searching hard.
Anticipating: The drive back to my apartment later today, being done with the lit review once and for all later this week, my last “first day” of classes this week as I start my final term of grad school.
Listening To: Some annoying old masterpiece BBC mystery crap my parents are watching.
Drinking: Nothing currently
Wishing: that a cheaper apartment unit in my building becomes available, because I need to let them know if I’m moving when my lease ends at the end of May, and I can’t afford the rent hike for my current unit. I really don’t feel like moving, so if i can stay in the building it’d be a relatively easy transition.
I don’t just mean a job that I like and I do well, but a job that I actually care about. I know a lot of people who like their jobs, but don’t necessarily care about the work they do (I also have plenty of friends who don’t like what they do, which I think is tragic). For example, yesterday I helped out at a career services event for our students to help prepare them for job and grad school interviews (depending on the student’s field of interest). I worked with one student who is making a career change from finance to the healthcare industry. This student mentioned that while he or she did very well as working in finance and liked the job, this student did not care about the work at the end of the day, which is why a career change was in order.
As with any job, mine can get a little stressful at times, especially since I’m working primarily with premedical students who are taking demanding courses and can be extremely stressed out (with good reason) as application season approaches right about now. But, at the end of the day when I’ve had a great conversation with a student, or help them with a question or concern they have, or yesterday helping students prepare for interviews, it’s really rewarding. I come home at the end of the day and it’s impossible to completely shut off my brain from work mode, but I don’t mind that I’m still thinking about something a student said. While some days I may not want to get out of my comfy warm bed and leave my super cuddly kitty, I never dread going to work, it never feels like something I “have” to do, and I actually look forward to it. It’s so refreshing.
In this economy, I feel extremely blessed to not only have a job but do something I love, especially since I know a lot of people who feel like they can’t leave their job they don’t like because they’re afraid of being unemployed. Since most of our adult lives are spent working, I find it sad that people are stuck doing things they don’t enjoy. To me, my happiness is worth so much that I couldn’t live like that.
It’s weird to think that had I stuck with physical therapy school, I would be graduating with my doctorate this spring instead of graduating with my master’s in higher ed. I took a big risk by leaving a program that essentially has 100% job placement in an in-demand industry for something that’s a little more uncertain, but so far it’s worked out great and I have no regrets.
I’m currently reading this book (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking), and it’s not necessarily telling me anything I didn’t already know, but it’s written in a way that expands on some concepts and goes a bit more in-depth. Most importantly, though, it profiles some introverts and the way they respond in the world. I’m currently on a chapter that talks about introverts in college, and how they react in discussion-based courses. It resonates a lot with me, because I’ve been there. Officially on the MBTI, I’m a very mildly expressed introvert (usually about 1-5 on the scale, and once I tested as a 1 extrovert). I know that I’m likely a bit more clearly introverted than that, but the way the assessment asks questions and my performing arts background, some of my answers are more in line with extroverts. Also, after a drink or two I can definitely crossover into slight extroversion, but as soon as it wears off I’d rather be in my room with a book or a movie and my cat than in a room full of people I don’t know.
Back to the point of my post: College professors need to read this, or at least the chapters on the classroom experience. It’s especially important for professors who use participation as a significant part of the grade (hello, grad school).
I’m in a discussion based course now where participation is a huge part of our grade, but there are only 6 other students so it’s not as intimidating (really it’s more like a conversation). My class of 30 students where participation was 25% of our grade terrified me. I’ve found myself having to work extra hard to pre-plan what I wanted to say as my daily contribution (to the point of actually making notes), and hoping that the time would come in the discussion where it would be relevant. And if, God forbid, someone says my thought before me, then I freak out because I don’t have anything to say and won’t get my daily participation points. It’s crazy stressful. On several occasions I’ve had to email professors and let them know that I’m an introvert and that my lack of speaking doesn’t mean I’m not paying attention or thinking about the concepts. (This was a result of a professor in one class emailing me to tell me I wasn’t participating enough and was at risk of getting a lower grade because of it, despite my written assignments being A grades. I then felt the need to let all my professors know that when surrounded by a large number of extroverts in a large classroom, I don’t always feel comfortable speaking extemporaneously.)
I know professors won’t always pick up on who is introverted and who is trying to skate by without doing the work, but since many of my professors have been the extroverted types, I think it would be beneficial for them to read this book to understand what we introverts feel like in these settings. I totally understand that participating in class is important, particularly in seminar and discussion-based courses, but when the professor sits in the corner and clearly puts a tally mark next to the students’ names each time they speak, it adds additional stress to those of us who take a little longer to form our thoughts and to work up the courage to speak up.