Grad School, Part I

First week of grad school:

All readings completed by Friday.  All read three times, annotated, and summarized in my own words.  I went to the gym twice, took my kids swimming, and had conversations with my husband that could be understood by an interested outsider.  The house was clean.  The food was healthy.

Fifth week of grad school:

All readings completed by Saturday.  All read twice, annotated, and debated in the class forums.  I missed a couple of Danica's skating lessons and a couple of Shelton's soccer games.  My kids started sneaking up on me for kamikaze hugs, and then smiled at me with huge puppy-dog eyes before retreating to drive each other batshit.  The house was clean.  The food was (mostly) healthy.  Microwave popcorn and store-bought cookies packed the snack drawer.  It's too cold to go to the gym, anyway.  Yeah, okay, we'll go swimming....

Tenth week of grad school:

All readings completed by Wednesday.  All surfaces stacked with research material.  My husband responded to panicked emails for books I needed but couldn't get my hands on.  My eBook purchases could feed a small nation for a month.  My kids watched A LOT of movies, and dinner conversation had words like "post-structuralist" and "inter-subjective" and "mired in jargon".  Pillow talk involved late-night eureka moments when my mind connected the dots between historiography and racially-derived agency and words of wisdom from Reddit.  A seasonal plague saved me from disappointing the kids about going to the pool.  A vast supply of scavenged chocolate goods ameliorated any guilt I may have had (*snort*) about skipping the gym.  And, yes, I know the floor is gritty.  Put your slippers on!  Daddy's picking up supper on the way home.

Fourteenth week of grad school:

I HATE WRITING!  Writing and writing, and checking my outline, and deleting, and cursing my outline, and writing and writing, and fantasizing about ritual burnings of my outline and this stupid fucking paper that means nothing and will make no difference to ANYONE and WHY DON'T I JUST TRASH IT AND START OVER?

Friday:

Five rounds of editing, two reads from my indulgent beloved, final proofing (and one minor panic attack).  And it's done.  Presenting three weeks of research with this closing statement: The lens of racialization and its social effects reveal microscopic glimpses of human texture, which are then amplified and distorted in divisive ways.  A study of the construct of race in any era thus demands multiple lenses, multiple foci, and multiple interpretive mechanisms in order to provide an accurate view of both its particularity and its global implications.  I hope it is enough.

Now:

I've technically got one week of school left, but with all of my course requirements met it's down to checking the forums periodically and slouching around with my kids.  We went to swimming lessons, yesterday, during which I sort of stumbled into a circuit training class and absolutely LOVED it.  Danica had her family birthday party yesterday afternoon, and while I'm still at that point of critical brain capacity – meaning I understand complex things but need people to explain to me simple things – it really was a lovely party.  My princess had such a good day.

So, what did I learn?  Well, it IS possible to have take-out pizza too many days in a row.  Microwave popcorn stinks.  My aging body DOES NOT bounce back from weeks of sitting and face-stuffing the way it used to.  Setting my laptop on the bathroom counter and watching reality tv in the bathtub defines "decompression".  Quality time with my kids doesn't have to be anything extraordinary to be special; they just need me to be there.  My husband is a rock star.  Wine is good.  And the first run of the season?  Seriously: Better. Than. Sex.  (Well, maybe.  I'll have to do a lot more of both to be sure. Heh.)

The spring semester starts May 1.  I'm ready.

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I blog about grace, humor, leg hair, thigh rub and life with kids at The Valentine 4: Living Each Day.

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