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College Might Kill You

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Grapes and lemons



December 4th, 2011

I get a little lost, as if March decided to vacation in my holiday, as if the snow hasn't really found my address yet. I love rain, but I saw "A Christmas Carol" staged yesterday (wonderful adaptation of one of my favorite stories, I applaud the actors and the theatre) and I went to a concert of "Winter, Fire and Snow" by an early music (read: medieval) ensemble, so I want snow, and the lit Christmas tree that sits quietly in the corner wishing to be real, and hot cocoa that burns your tongue because you don't know enough to wait, even after all these years of hot cocoa.

The last week of classes is upon us here at Graduate School. In a way, I'm glad to see the end of this semester--I have so much else to do, it seems, and yet I desperately seek a day just to be, to avoid all of the Things I Must Do and stare at my Christmas tree for half an hour if I want to. In between me and that are a paper revision, another paper entirely, two lectures, a final, a final to be written and given, papers to grade, and three plays to be read. I fear my disconnectedness from it, fear the exhaustion that seems to come sooner every term now.

My students, though; my students also itch for the end of the term, eagerly throwing themselves into the class discussions as the reality of grades draws near. I feel as though I am finally getting to know them, to joke with them, to remember their stories and what makes them worry and why they smile at some of my bad jokes in lecture--I am just getting to know them, and they are going to finish this class and we will forget each other, and I will have 20 new names to remember, new stories to learn and worries to hold. I have taught enough before to know this turnover, but I have never taught a full semester class before, never gotten to see a student grow in the realization that things are connected, never had students come up to me before class to say that they felt incredibly smart when they were able to use something I had taught them in another class, to prove that they knew something over and above their peers. I have been proud of students before, but now I am proud of myself in that, proud of the moments when I could be even a part of what my own teachers were for me.

In my own classes, I continue to struggle with being teacher and student, with simplifying and yet discerning all of the layers underneath, with covering vast swaths of events and literature while writing volumes on a single instant.
This, too, I hold, loosely and carefully, because I know its fragility, I know that this slippery balance is one I don't yet understand, may never understand.

In the midst of these things, I remember that my students and my classes do not define me, so I set out to win the National Novel Writing Month challenge for the first time in the five years I've been trying--and I do. I decide that running a 5k is something that must be done--so I do. I burrow further into a profession that is not this, a world that is not in this school system, and I fight and twist and accept and start all over again in finding out who I should be, what I should be, and how intricately interwoven those questions should be.

And I approach the Christmas season, the Yule of quiet as the year draws to its death and the celebration of newness, and I wonder; I embrace the gusty winds of chill that haven't yet discovered their way, just as I have not. I watch the rain with my mug of cocoa and my burnt tongue and I think of how incredible this is, this growth and change and opportunity to learn every single day.

Merry Christmas, Reader. May you, in whatever areas you are lost, or found, or happily wandering, see the wonder of a snowflake, or hear the transcendence of a carol, and be part of this season, this death, this birth, this life.

You Are Colorful

You have your own unique style, taste in music, and outlook on life.

Sometimes your drive for freedom hinders your quality of life. You find it impossible to do anything unpleasant.

In life, you rather play than work. You're apt to quit any task that doesn't nourish your creativity and inner child.

You are blessed with an enormous amount of self-confidence. You love who you are.

I'm always fascinated by how these things base so much on a predilection to one picture. Does one vase of flowers really say so much about all of the people who choose it?

October 16th, 2011

Than winter/spring terms, that is. And I don't really know why. I just always feel like they're more stressful, more jam-packed, more filled with "holy crap I have ___ assignment due TOMORROW and I totally haven't started it" moments.

For me, at least. But then, it's my blog--is it different for any of you that are still in school? Was it different for those of you who were in school once? (This is all of you, don't be shy.)

I've not forgotten you, LJ-Land. I am having quite a semester, though, of discovery and change and, right now, the famed northern seasonal-change cold. Humbug.
Running is going well, though I only get to run once a week now. This is terribly unfortunate, but my schedule just doesn't permit anything else. Having class five days a week is something that can only be done when you have the set 8-hour grade school schedule, I think; I will be super glad to have a schedule change next term so that I can have some time to, you know, go to work again.
Work is...ridiculous. But that's because my boss and I view the treatment of employees rather differently, and I worked at a career center for long enough to know better than to hash that out on the Internet.
Classes are okay--my profs are really solid this year, which is awesome. Latin is still sucking my soul out, but more because it's incredibly time-consuming than that it is the spawn of evil like it was last year. It's a nice change.

And I'm teaching. Huzzah, I'm teaching! No, it is actually a lot of fun, even if I still don't know about four of my students' names. (They're all brunette girls that LOOK THE SAME and sit next to each other and never talk. It's terribly unfair.) My teaching partner rocks, which is so incredibly helpful. And so far, he's done most of the lecturing because his schtick is the early middle ages; this means that I have about a month and a half solid of lectures coming up once we get about halfway through the high middle ages, sooooo....check back with me when I'm wrung out like a rag and cursing myself for having set up the syllabus this way to see if I still like it.
I'm nervous this week because the class has been pretty intensely lecture-based so far and this week I'm going to make them do LITERATURE DISCUSSION. They have to talk to each other, and I'm terrified that it will be an hour of us just sort of staring at each other after I've asked my 8th question and not gotten any kind of response. Tips/tricks of the trade, teachers? How do you get your students to respond to you and each other about literature?

Okay. I should go write some discussion questions to give my students, so farewell for now, friends. As ever, enjoy a quiz:

You Are a Noun

You are very concerned with the material world and what is actual.

Facts interest you, and it's likely that you keep up with the latest news.

You do well with ideas and concepts you can actually see. You are a very visual person.

You are the type who knows every person and place in town. You're very well informed.

True, actually. And I do like nouns. I would have been quite sad to find that I'm a gerund, or something.

September 3rd, 2011

I hope your holiday weekends are filled with...whatever Labor Day weekends are supposed to be filled with. Since we've gotten so far away from what it originally meant, I suppose it's more of a secondary Memorial Day now, a last gasp of summer with BBQs and cookouts and anticipation of the football season that can happen now that the lockout has ended. I don't really know. It's such a dated American holiday, in some ways. And, since I own neither a backyard nor a grill, I'm instead staying in for the holiday and working on getting all my uncooked ducks in a row for school to start on Tuesday.

Good heavens, this whole week has been about getting ready for that. In a week of orientations and meetings and welcoming get-togethers and hobnobbing events (I love that Spell Check recognizes "hobnobbing" but not "togethers", by the way), I'm kind of glad of the weekend to burrow in my apartment for a while. Much though I do love the action of working a crowd, I'm perfectly content to stay inside and read and listen to music all day, speaking to no one. I feel that the balance of the two is one of the trickiest parts of being a person, in some ways, and trickier still for grad students. We're supposed to be the studious ones, the sleep-in-the-library ones, the ones noted by all of society for being reclusive and socially awkward, yet we're also in one of the most social professions around. What? Who thought that up?

So, yes, I am teaching this semester (huzzah!); I'm nervous about it, of course, but also kind of excited. I like this material (mostly), I like teaching, and I'm eager to see what I can do in front of kids I'll actually connect to for more than a week or so. Also, my teaching partner is a hoot, and totally green, so I'm interested to see what he can come up with and how we work together in a classroom.

One of the interesting things about this term, though, is that I've met all the new students in my department and seen the oldies at one of the Gatherings Where We Drink Together and Fight About Nerdy Things this week, and I realized I will be spending as little time in that atmosphere as possible. For those in some sort of grad school--or, really, anywhere that you have to interact with the same group of people going toward a common goal--is it so ridiculously competitive, backbiting and petty for you? I feel as though there is so much insecurity in this group sometimes, and I'm not saying there's not a damn good basis for it, because this program is tough and the job market is small and we're all running on a lot of stress with a lot to lose. But I just...I didn't like who I was in that dynamic, at all, and that's very interesting to me. This degree is no longer the all-consuming goal in my life, and that has set me outside of the group, I think. Perhaps. This semester will be interesting, that's for sure.

And a note about running--last week, I ran FIVE WHOLE MILES. Every inch of them. That is the furthest I've ever run at one go in my life, and I tell you what--I'm sticking with four. By four and a half, I could feel how runners get bad knees, how your lungs suddenly decide to go on vacation, how your head seems to be attached to someone else. Not really pleasant, and there was quite a while of laying on my floor afterward to make sure I had all life-giving systems still operating. But, I did it, and that's something to be proud of, I guess. Again, this term will be interesting as it unfolds.

So, have a quiz and a happy holiday, all, and best of luck as we kick off September.

You Are the Tree Pose

You are a well grounded, down to earth person. Not much shakes you.

You can remain steady through a crisis - and other people lean on you.

You have high standards and morals. You easily rise above pettiness.

While people sometimes accuse you of being stubborn, you are able to shift focus when you need to.

Hahaha, nice. In honor of a very yoga-minded friend of mine, I suppose.

August 26th, 2011

See? Told you I wouldn't abandon you totally, LJ. You're too much in my heart for that. *chuckles*

Update on running--so, it turns out that when you don't run regularly for a couple of weeks, it gets MUCH HARDER. Surprise! I recently took a vacation, and before that it was pretty intensely hot, so I only ran once a week or so for about a month. When I went running once on my vacation, I could totally feel the loss! Man, it was rough. And also, sometimes, I'm not the brightest bulb in the box--I ran a couple of days ago and was having real trouble, as in it felt like when I first started running because I couldn't freaking breathe; my friend informed me later that this was probably due to the fact that it was 97 degrees outside. Who has two thumbs and doesn't check the weather before running three miles? Yeah, that's right. Hopefully tomorrow will be cooler, because I really need the focusing release that running provides--it's been a hella long week.

Writing: Still doing it. Have found a really interesting pair of characters, actually. Call out to writing friends--know of any magazines or companies that are looking for long-ish stories (about 9,000 words) obliquely centered around faith? I'm better versed in secular publishing and don't know the other quite as well.

School: Starts soon. I really wish I could care more than I do, but this past year just sucked omg so bad that I'm afraid to have any expectations at all. That, and I'm still really, really unprepared for Latin. So, we'll see. I really hope my two lit classes are awesome, because I could really use awesome classes.

Teaching: It seems that everyone is going to pretend things are okay, so I have a meeting Monday with my teaching partner to write our syllabus. I'm so excited! I think this will be very good for me, although it will be odd that I'm not even a decade older than my students. Close, but not quite. I'm sure I'll have many interesting anecdotes to share soon--I have just over 20 students, which is a pretty good number for an intro class, so I'm hoping that I'll get to know my students. I'd hate to teach one of those 200-student seminars where you have to use a microphone and you're pretty sure you've never seen the student who asked about your comments on his paper.

I think those are the most pertinent updates. Hope all of your summers are ending well--we've had a taste of the coolness of fall here recently and it makes my heart happy.

You Are Sophisticated and Well Mannered

You're the type of person who can sit all day entertaining guests with witty banter.

You believe in presenting yourself in the best light possible. You like to be seen as classy.

You give a first impression of being upper class and even a bit snooty. And you're the first to admit you're a little guilty of that.

You are an armchair critic. You can detect quality easily, and you want the best things you can find.

All that from a chair? Goodness. And no, not all of it's true.

August 1st, 2011

Identity Split

One day at a time
Hello, LiveJournal community! Good to see you all here after the maintenance issues LJ's apparently been having lately.

I just wanted to let you know that, in the realization that I started this blog with the intention of keeping it school-oriented, I'm taking my theological musings elsewhere. This does not mean I'm abandoning this journal at all (I realize that sort of sounded like "I'm taking my toys and going home"), just that I think having a space totally dedicated to school and a space totally dedicated to theology will help the writing voice a bit more, clarity-wise. If you are interested in following me over to the new journal, it's at Spiritual Implications; I'd be delighted to hear from you there!

In other news, I'm totally typing this at work, which is terrible work etiquette and I do feel appropriately guilty, don't worry. I just had to take a brief break from the tedium that I'm working on right now--it involves a lot of deleting spaces between words, and although I still love my job, oy.

School is lumbering its way down the path in my general direction, which is only frightening when I realize I have done ALMOST NOTHING AT ALL to prepare for Latin. Any suggestions for crash-course re-learning programs online? It's not like I don't know the language--I've just forgotten which file cabinet in my head I stashed it all in.
I started writing some of the outlines for my lectures, though, which is very exciting. I'm really hoping this all pans out and I get to teach, because I'm realizing I really, really want to do so. Also, if that happens, I'm sure I'll have lots of wonderful stories of facepalming for you.

That's the quick update and notification, I'm going to back to actually doing what they pay me for now. Here, have a quiz to help your Monday along:

You Are Archive

You are competent, organized, and careful. You know how to stay on task and focus on the most important thing.

You like to have everything in its place. Messes and chaos completely stress you out.

You have a system for almost everything in your life, and you don't like to deviate from it.

Calendars, routines, and having things in a certain order keeps you calm. You don't like to shake things up too much.

Well, that's exceptionally true.

July 15th, 2011

I haven't seen the last one yet, I'm not that dedicated. The only midnight showing of a film I ever remember going to was for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and I was so tired and brain-dead that I didn't really appreciate the film or notice half of what was going on in it. Yes, the costumed people are cool, but I figure I have enough fan-crazy friends that I can just live vicariously through them. So I'll go see HPDHpt.2 later on this weekend, let the cinemas get their crazy partially out of their system first.

It is odd to think that this is the end of it, but I'm not terribly worried about it--I still have The Hobbit and the Narnia series to keep me hoping. Plus all of the Avenger team build-up. I think this will be kind of like going to see Toy Story 3; I grew up with that, too, and I appreciate all that it did for cinematic technology, but I can (and do) own the DVDs, so that's enough. For HP, there will always be Potter Puppet Pals and the Starkid musicals and the cleolinda parodies, and that's enough for me.

In the rest of my life, things are slow and quietly stressful, as summers tend to be. I'm still running and have actually run four miles at a stretch twice now, which continues to surprise me. I have all the tokens of an ill-planned summer--severe sunburn, odd tan lines, more mosquito bites than I care to think about. Right about now I'm starting to fondly think of the falling leaves of autumn and the feet of white snow that come here in November. But I'm also trying to see the beauty of this, my least favorite season. It's there, I know, but when one is itching off one's skin, it's hard to remember.

School is in hiatus right now. I finished the summer project I had and am waiting...waiting...waiting for the grade result that will determine my fall schedule. I'm expending way too much energy some days trying not to panic about that. I should know next week, but I'm not holding my breath. I am, however, not doing any prep work for my classes, writing any lectures, even ordering my books--I've checked out of school completely these last couple of weeks, which worries me. I have to be able to pick it up again when I need to, and I'm hoping I'm just re-charging for that. Hopefully. If not, the next year is going to be another hell, which I don't need.

Nothing terribly important going on in my life, as you can tell. Just wanted to throw in my two cents on the HP phenom. Hope you all are well.

You Are a Book

You are a deliberate thinker. You don't like to gloss over anything, and details matter to you.

When times get tough, you get philosophical. You never forget the meaning of life.

If you're facing a problem, getting away for a couple days always helps you clear your mind.

You always consider the past, present, and future. You believe every little event shapes your life.

Gee, I'm so surprised.

June 12th, 2011

You know, the days when you're just in a strange headspace? They're not bad days, not at all--today was pretty awesome, actually, but I'm just...I think it's because I got to thinking, and that's never good.

I continue to be freaked out by how much time I spent at/with my church. I realize that that theme is old now, and you're probably asking "then why the eff do you keep going?" I DON'T KNOW. Well, I do know--I don't want to be anywhere else. But I'm still not comfortable with that; it's kind of like the movies where the popular girl falls in love with the geek and, even though she loves him, she can't quite handle seeing herself as a Girl Who Dates a Geek. A bit of a terrible analogy, but I just can't see this part of myself, not yet, can't wrap my head around the idea of being a ChurchFolk, one of the masses I hated and mocked for so long.
Not least because I'm having serious troubles putting my different versions of ChurchFolk together. Let me tell you, the spectrum of Christianity is SO INCREDIBLY WIDE, I have a hard time some days believing these people are really talking about the same God. And what if they aren't? How, if you have an unchanging God who is not human, can you have a God that everyone see differently and interacts with differently in the same way that humans are never the same for two people?
Yeah. This has been my morning. Exhilarating, in that I'm-glad-God-wants-me-to-keep-learning-and-understanding kind of way, but really, really circular and theoretical and frustrating.
The part that really threw me out of the loop, I think, was that I got blindsided by having to deal with the Great Rift that is quietly sitting between a lot of my friends here in Grad School Land and myself, that of the Rainbow-Colored Elephant in my life. GLBT issues are a huge deal for my closest friends here, and I'm simply not on that bandwagon. Yes, I am very aware of what a can of worms announcing something like that on a blog, especially a blog posted by a Christian Person Of The New Millennium, opens, but man, it's such a...thing, here. Now. Sure, send me your vitriol and your arguments for or against in the comments; I'd welcome it, actually, I invite you to have your say, which is why I'm not friend-locking this even though that might be a good idea. I'd love to get behind the movement, not least because it's one of the Defining Issues of my generation, but I can't. I just can't. And having to dance around that streak of conservatism in an otherwise relatively liberal set of values is a pain; my friends, bless them, keep trying to "convince" me somehow, as if I've simply not thought about it enough, as if I've only to hear the right presentation of The Cause. To be honest, I find it a little frustrating that I'm not allowed to be in my own opinion here; it's not like I hate people who are GLBT. Many of my most delightful friends are homosexual, and I love them dearly--I just can't support that part of their life. Some of them accept that, and we just don't talk about it that often, kind of like my friends who are married to people I don't like--we don't talk about the spouse, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends.
It's funny that it's often my straight friends who are much less tolerant of me having a differing opinion, as if they are somehow being stifled by my conservatism, as if it is their job to show me the error of my ways. I appreciate all the friends I have who just accept that I'm not on that wavelength, but I get so wound up over the fact that many treat it as me not being there "yet." Give it time, she'll come around. Why is it so necessary to effect this "evolution" in thinking?

I would say that I didn't mean for this post to devolve into what probably sounds like a right-wing anti-rights rant, but a) that's not what I mean it to be, and b) it's something that's really on my mind today, and typing things that are about my observations tend to reflect, well, what's in my observations. Again, if you've something you're dying to say in response, say it. I won't stop you, though I would ask you to be civil. If that's not possible for you, at least spell correctly. I'd hate for someone to lambaste me in poor grammatical style.

In school news, I have zero desire to write the assignment that's due in two weeks. I need to examine this further later, especially having talked to an old friend of mine this week who kept talking about how much I love reading and being an academic and how this life of study is so perfect for me. Is it possible that I am not that person anymore, that I have changed so quickly?

In running news, I could feasibly do a 5k now. I'm seriously considering it for the fall. What happened to me? Grad School seems to have taken Collegiate Celtic_Songster and traded her in for a completely new model. This would be what I'm talking about when I say I'm not comfortable with things. Hell, I barely know who I am; some days, that's pretty awesome. Others, I'm not so sure.

Have at it, IntarWebs. Also, have a quiz, since those are always banal and colorful.

You Are Gothic

You can be too moody and impossible to understand. Most people don't have feelings as strong as yours.

You are a sensitive, romantic soul. You live to love... it's the most important thing for you.

You're quite loyal to those you love most - friends and family. You have a sweet heart.

You are a deeply spiritual and wise person. You seek meaning in every aspect of your life.

Oh, that's just so perfect. Well done, BlogThings.

May 27th, 2011

I think because I always feel sort of adrift during the summer, rudderless and lost. I also don't like the heat at all, which is why I'm over the moon about the fact that June is next week and I actually have my HEAT on in my apartment today. This makes me very, very happy.

Remember, some years back, when I was keeping this as a running log? I can do that again. Due to the efforts of a rather athletic friend of mine here at Grad School, I am up to running two full miles without stopping, the longest I believe I've ever run in my life. I'm even entertaining the notion of doing a 5K at the end of the summer--I have no idea what is wrong with my head, but it is further evidence that this first year of graduate studies has flipped my whole world around. This I'm okay, with, though, even if it does weird me out. A lot. Running has become a nice way for me to just check out for a bit, and that's been oh-so-necessary.

In other news, my church choir has gone on summer hiatus, and I'm trying not to get wound up in that. It's odd, though, not having practice as the sort of mid-week reminder anymore.

Class snafus of the summer have sorted themselves out to my taking a one credit hour ridiculousness with the director of my department, which is basically an excuse for him to give me an A so I can drag my sorry self out of the academic danger zone. I'm incredibly grateful to him for doing this, but the absurdity of it just makes me chuckle. I'm hoping to burrow down with that starting next week, as well as with the German and Latin resources that I've collected--and haven't touched--as if June is the month in which I'll suddenly want to throw myself into academics again. Right. We'll see, we'll see.

In a tangle with Parking Services the other day, I realized for the forty-seventh time how much I dislike being at a big university. And this isn't even that big--it's no University of Michigan, or something like that. I miss my undergrad, my little collegiate high school, where administration problems were solved by walking from one office to another down the hall to yell at the appropriate person. Here, everything is letterhead and bureaucratic channels, distrust of nameless faces and numbers that clink their way through computer systems I'll never even see. Bureaucracy exists everywhere, I know, but here it is so...broad, so unconnected. I don't even know the name of the president of my university, actually, and I've certainly never met him--I barely know the dean of graduate studies, or what half of the buildings on main campus are called. I get that that happens in grad school, and I'm obviously not perturbed enough by it to look up and memorize all of this information, but I just dislike the mindset I have here of "just passing through," of "don't mind me," of "this is only a stepping stone." I feel no connection to this university at all, a fact made hilariously obvious when I received a letter the other day asking me to donate part of my paycheck to a scholarship fund now that I'm "faculty". I won't even teach a class until September, and already they're asking for money from me--and there's no way I'm invested enough in this school to give it to them. I don't care about it, at all, and this bothers me in a distant sort of way. I got spoiled by undergrad, I think.

In any case, there isn't much happening for me right now, in the not-much laziness of the beginning of the summer, in the hunt for a job that isn't Burger King but has to be part-time, temporary; in the always-tomorrow mindset of when I'll work on scholarship for the fall; in the drifting nature of friends calling in hopes I'll come visit, writing that I want to do but isn't happening, sewing projects that just aren't turning out right. Hopefully things will come together in the next few weeks, as summer truly gets under way. Hopefully.

You Are Kind

You truly feel for others. You are always imagining what it's like to be in someone else's shoes.

You are indispensable as a friend. You are the confidant, companion, and support system for many people.

You are affirming and supporting. You accept people where they are, imperfections and all.

You are warm and welcoming. You will go the extra mile to make someone feel included.

I'm always interested in how they get all of that information from a simple color.

May 1st, 2011

Never, ever thought that such a thing would govern my time.
In a way, it doesn't; Easter has come and gone, ending the necessities of Lent. Holy Week was super intense for me this year, not least because it coincided with the last week of classes in grad school, somewhat-less-than-affectionately known as Dead Week to me. I found it alarmingly appropriate that the two joined this year, but it made for a very long week; not only did I have the papers and lectures and whatever else of school, I had the singing at the Maundy Thursday service, reading at the Good Friday service, preparing for singing on Easter, fending off my mother's heartsickness that I would not be going "home" for the holiday.
But it happened, and it is finished, and it was glorious and depressing and soul-filling and crushing and everything that Holy Week is, every part of the emotion of living through the death of a Man and rejoicing that it doesn't end there.
My own rejoicing now lies in having finished the semester, and thus the FIRST YEAR OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. I am done with it, and now have two years left in this program, two years of doubt and exhaustion and questions, two years of learning and discovering and growing. The plan is to continue, to finish, but when have plans ever actually occurred as I made them?
My thanks to those of you who found my last post helpful and said so; as I have grown with this journal, this "blog" that is so much more technologically savvy than I am, I have thought of it being so many things. Funny, then, that it is what it was originally--a place for me to say to the wide void of the Internet that school is a crazy thing, a real world unto itself, a woven part of a larger life. I have begun to realize that school is not the center of my life now, and this is new, very new. I finished this term and ran into all kinds of difficulties with wanting to take a German class this summer--it would happen, but then it was canceled, then I asked if it could be offered as an independent study, then I realized I couldn't afford it anyway, now it IS offered as an independent study...ugh. I do need to take the class, but as I've been thinking about it, I realize that I am not in a place where I could do a formal class right now. As much as I need the rigid instruction because I am terrible with languages, I think I'm going to buy the book and attempt to teach myself, because I had the academic shit kicked out of me this year and I cannot continue to pretend that didn't happen. I need to rest from the stress of classes and deadlines and lose myself in just working for a while, continuing to see where I am needed in my church and among my friends, gearing up for teaching in the fall.
I have never turned down the opportunity for school in my life.
And a part of me realizes I'm not turning it down now, that I'm taking the learning out of the classroom and putting it somewhere else, but this, too, is new, and I'm not sure what to do with that yet. I need to rediscover why I love learning and school in the first place, and I very strangely think I can't do that in a classroom, not right now. So I will learn my own way this summer, working and stumbling my way through German and Latin, cursing the mind that can intricately weave the words of English into any sentence structure I choose but that refuses to understand those of other tongues. And I will be unprepared in the fall, as I always am, and it will be bumpy, and most likely kill me--but I am searching for it to be that fun, fun ride, praying that I can re-discover that, and believing that it will be so.

You See the Outside World as Fascinating

You are simply brilliant. You are bright, intelligent, and creative.

You can't describe your feelings easily - even to yourself. Your emotions are a mystery.

You are a truth seeker. You are willing to accept the real truth, no matter how difficult it is.

You are not prone to compromise. You're set in your ways and proudly so.

March 13th, 2011

They are the best-laid, I hear.

I realize I'm seldom on here anymore, which is due to both the continued slow death by grad school and the idea that I don't really have a whole lot to say. Honestly. I realize I've not been doing the Say What Saturdays, not because I've not been thinking about them--or seeing very, very strange things that cause the "say what?" reaction--but because I've not had the time. Saturdays for me are either travelling days or days spent doing all of the homework I should have done two weeks ago.

A quick update, though, on things: Life is nuts. Grad school is nuts. There is so much in this endeavor, and I think this is similar across the program board, not just this particular institute, that sort of sucks your soul out of your body. Learning the nitty gritty of a discipline can easily make you forget why you loved it in the first place, especially when combined with the monster of "I'll never get a job with this" or the "Is this really what I want to do with the rest of my entire life?" Graduate school represents a kind of commitment, and I'm terrible with commitment.
But this term I've been adding things besides school to my life, and that has helped a great deal. I do appreciate the advice of my professorial friends when I started this degree to beware of spreading myself too thin, to keep myself focused on my studies, and they were mostly right. But I am a personality that needs to diversify, that needs to have 15 plates spinning at once, that thrives on being on the go and constantly aware of many ideas and deadlines and pieces of information.
Sometimes, this is not a good plan.
But now, now I sing at my church, I have made friends outside of my department, a friend of mine is graciously teaching me guitar (and yes, typing does hurt my fingers that are not calloused enough yet!), I am knitting a hat and sewing a picture and hoping my other bookshelf makes its way to my apartment some day. I am writing, gloriously writing about a woman who is lost in a much different way than I am, and I am listening to my friends who live far away and are also lost in much different ways, and I am examining this life period of change that my friends with decades of space and nostalgia call "exciting".

It is also Lent, and Lent is a very important part of the liturgical year for me. Lent is when I really get my head screwed on straight, and every year the deepness and revelations it brings surprise me. We are only half a week into it and that is already true; the people I'm meeting and the friendships I'm changing and creating are so incredibly diverse and wonderful and, truth be told, not at all anything that I would have created. It is something else to live as though you don't have to have all of the answers, to interact as if you will still be valuable when others are not there, to know that there is a space for you in the world because God created it and wants no one else to fill it.

Yeah. A whole lot of the last two weeks has been spent in a pretty intense headspace, so you're getting some of the run-off. But I just wanted to let me small community here know that things are good, and life moves forward, and I'm okay with that. I hope the same can be said of you and your life, my friends.

You Are Corn Flakes

You are traditional and easy going.

If something is high quality, you're satisfied with it.

You don't need much variety or novelty in your life.

You're happy with what you have. You're quite loyal.

You're the type of person who eats the same breakfast every day...

And likely at the exact same time each day!

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