I survived my first year as a PhD student! Finishing the semester required writing 55 double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman, 1-inch margin pages in the last week, 45 of which I wrote in the last 4 days. The final stretch was actually painful. I feel like I lost a piece of myself in that last paper, because it took everything I had to finish it on 3 hours of sleep. But, I did it.
I don’t know if Lisa realizes that she’s said to me at least three times in the last week, “I can’t believe you’re already finishing your first year of PhD School.” (That is what we call it: PhD School.) I can’t believe she’s graduating from law school. I swear it was just yesterday that we were on Road Trip 2007, driving all of her stuff down here from Washington. And a day before that we were starting college. And that afternoon we were in high school. And earlier that morning she was just the weird girl sitting next to me in 6th grade band.
It’s not just that time moves quickly. I think we’re both a little surprised to be where we are. We do talk about how disappointed our high school selves would be in us for not being married, for wearing clothes that don’t match, and especially for drinking regularly. It’s strange to think that I’m not where I thought I would be, but I could never really picture that life anyway. I couldn’t picture this one either. I didn’t imagine finding so many things I care so much about or that I would be successful in pursuing them. I never would have guessed I was this capable.
It’s been a dynamic school year. It probably appears from the outside that nothing has changed. It might even seem that way here on my blog. But, I feel very different. I feel much more in control of my life and up to the challenge of whatever comes next. Even just eight or nine months ago my life was so full of dread and avoidance. I was happy, but only because I was ignoring all of my problems. It takes a lot of energy to suppress all of your fear and anxiety that way. As the stress of this week started to affect me physically, I was reminded that I used to feel that way almost every day.
I’m much more excited about my life now. I can finally see into my future. It’s more than a question mark. It’s the culmination of all the things I’m working on now.
The reality of being done with the semester and entering into three months that include free time has not yet hit me. It feels weird just to be sitting here (at work) writing this instead of writing a paper. I think I’ll adjust.