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I went to my final grad school orientation today, which was followed by a welcome back party for all of the faculty and graduate students in the sociology department. Honestly, I couldn’t ask to be in a better place emotionally and spiritually. Everything feels right.

Today, I was able to meet most of the people that I’m going to be spending the next two years of my life with, and I can honestly say that I haven’t met a single person that I even have the slightest reservations about. The professors all seem personable, down-to-earth, and genuinely interested in making sure every graduate student succeeds. I’ve had a fantastic time getting to know the ladies in my cohort (haven’t met any of the men yet), and I can already tell we’ll be a support system for each other rather than cutthroat competition.

The returning graduate students were beyond helpful, not only in confirming my initial impressions about the professors and the supportive nature of the program, but also in allaying my fears about grad school in general. Hearing them describe the work ahead of me in detail, rather than just giving me the general “you’re going to work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life” gives me the confidence to know that I can do this. Especially after meeting a fellow IB graduate, who  calmly promised that nothing I do in my Master’s program will be nearly as hard as what I did in high school.

I spent the afternoon drinking wine and eating chocolate cupcakes with a group of people who love Feminist Ryan Gosling (and Paul Ryan Gosling) , who get the Sociology Student Sheep meme, and whose eyes light up when you talk about researching religious behavior among Millenials. After months of reading grad school horror stories on the internet, I can’t believe how fortunate I am. I really can’t. If I was ever unsure about whether or not I’m meant to be here, to be doing this, those doubts are gone.

I’m going to try to update my blog while I’m in grad school, but I can’t promise that it will happen regularly, at least not until I get my bearings academically. But I do want to make sure that I thank everyone who has supported me in writing this so far. Putting your thoughts and fears and hopes into writing, and then putting that writing on the internet, is a very vulnerable feeling, but I’ve been astonished and humbled at how encouraging everyone has been. With complete sincerity, I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this blog, and for being so kind about doing so 🙂

Until next time,
Lauren

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