Before I went to grad school, I received loads of advice from well-meaning friends about what to expect. Some people told me that grad school was only difficult if you didn’t work ahead. Work ahead, Kaitlyn, and you’ll be fine. Some people told me not to stress out. After all, Paul got an ulcer when he was in grad school. Some people told me that they got ten hours of sleep every night of grad school. Others told me that they wanted to cry every day. Someone recently told me to make the effort to enjoy the time spent in grad school.
I never thought someone would have to tell me to enjoy life. After all, no one wants to be miserable. But I’ve been so busy, I’ve forgotten to smile. My week is filled with students and rehearsal. My weekends are filled with homework. Sleep is sometimes squeezed in between lunch and class. Supper is usually thought about but rarely eaten. Every time I change into pants before rehearsal, I think with dismay, “These pants used to fit me. Now I’m drowning.”
My mornings are spent running back and forth from the testing center. My afternoons are spent emailing students or sitting in class thinking about emailing them. My evenings are spent in rehearsals–the one time of day I’m NOT thinking about my students. When I return home, I begin to do homework, while constantly interrupting myself to email students. When I finally get to bed in the wee hours of the morning, I dream about my students.
Last night was one of the strangest nights of my life. I got home around 7:40 and then left to grade six hundred tests. And I had fun–enough fun to make me giddy. I actually found a new best friend, and it’s called . . . actually I don’t know what it’s called. But it grades the tests for me and is alarmingly stubborn for a piece of technology. I was so ecstatic when I came home at 9:00 that I didn’t care that I would have to stay up till 2:00 reading Death of a Salesman. I have a new best friend, and it’s a stubborn piece of technology.
This is what grad school is like.