It has been way too long since I’ve updated this blog, and to those (few) people who have been reading it, I apologize! I don’t have a good excuse, other than that the end of my last semester in college was crazy hectic, and the habit of not blogging that I developed in those last weeks was really hard to kick. But I’m back, and hopefully won’t abandon you again, dear blog!
These past few months have been a roller-coaster of emotions, to say the least. I thought my life would slow down after graduation, and it has in a way, but I still feel like I’m on a treadmill that can’t be turned off (bad metaphor? Probably. My writing skills are rusty, to be sure). I much prefer this kind of fast-paced routine to the pre-graduation routine, since I’m running towards the start of something, rather than the completion of something, which somehow feels more positive. But let’s start back in December, with graduation, and I’ll catch you all up on my life up to this point! 🙂
This was it! After three and a half years, I graduated this December with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and a minor in History. Since everyone and their mother has asked what the heck my major meant, I guess I’ll go ahead and explain here. Basically, I was able to merge two separate concentrations (for me, they were Religious Studies and Sociology, but there were a variety of concentrations to choose from) into one major by taking several classes from each concentration, and adding a few extra required courses (research methods, senior seminar, etc) to round it out. This major was perfect for me, A) because most of my college career was spent trying to figure out what on earth interested me enough for me to pick it as a major, and B) I do genuinely appreciate having an interdisciplinary approach to my education. So far, my nontraditional major hasn’t kept me from getting into grad school (more on that later!!!), so no harm, no foul, eh?
Graduation felt, and still feels, very surreal to me. I think it’s because the prospect of graduate school has left me in a weird state of arrested academic development, so graduation felt less like a milestone in my life and more like a stepping stone to the next degree. Don’t get me wrong. I was, and am, elated to be a college graduate, and I had a great time celebrating with my friends and family, but I think the real celebration, for me at least, will come when I’m completely done with school and get to start my career.
(my family and I at the Laughing Cat in Ybor after graduation. This is probably the best Italian food this side of the Atlantic Ocean- no lie)
For how slowly the last few weeks before graduation seemed to drag, the rest of December seemed to fly by. There was the Mad Men party for our friend Luke’s birthday:
There was my sister’s birthday dinner at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, to which Chad and I arrived in our finest Christmas sweaters (free drinks were offered for anyone brave enough to dress like we did- totally worth it!)
And there were many parties, the last of which (obviously), was New Year’s Eve. We had a low-key event this year, which was fine by me, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
Which brings us to…
If December was a month of celebration, January was a month of stress, almost all of which was related to graduate school. I had already been admitted to the University of Central Florida’s Applied Sociology program, but that was the only program that had given me any news so far, and even then, there was no mention of funding yet. I found out (rather, realized) early in January that my application to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill was invalid because my GRE scores didn’t get there in time, which narrowed my potential schools down to UCF and Yale. Only having two schools to think about may have been a plus, but I can’t see how the pins and needles could have gotten any sharper, to be honest.
The absolute worst part of this whole ordeal has been the fact that I had no idea when I should expect news, other than a general late January/early February timeline provided by the programs. That meant that, once we got into the last half of January, every email sent my heart racing, and inevitably left me bitterly disappointed when I found out it was Anne Taylor Loft or Groupon sending the email, not Yale or UCF. The uncertainty, and the desire to just get a move on with things has not made for a pleasant few weeks, I can tell you. Or you can ask Chad, the saint that he is, who has been putting up with my moodiness and mental absence of late.
This mental torture I was putting myself through (and I completely acknowledge that much of it was self-inflicted) made the news I received at the beginning of
that UCF would be fully funding me even sweeter. Not only did I finally know something definite, but it was the best possible news I could have gotten from UCF. Full tuition remission, health insurance, and a decent stipend in return for working as a Teaching Assistant (which is the only job I would have wanted in grad school, anyway). This has been such a weight off my shoulders, and it has already made the wait for Yale’s decision much easier to bear.
I honestly cannot express how excited I am for graduate school. I am under no illusions that it’s going to be a glorious life, or that it’s not going to be mind-numbingly frustrating at times, or that I am going to be working harder than I ever have in my life. But, as many people on a popular graduate school forum have pointed out- how many people get paid to pursue their passion in life, even if it’s just for a few years? Going to conferences will give me the chance to travel the country and mingle with people in my field, being a teaching assistant will give me valuable experience as being part of the instruction of a college classroom, and studying and doing research will broaden my knowledge of a field that I have a deep desire to know more about. UCF also has several short-term summer study abroad programs for graduate students that involve doing social justice work in foreign countries, which would be invaluable field experience (not to mention a fantastic life experience)
There’s no feeling like getting to see years of hard work pay off in the best way possible. God has been so good to me, to have everything fall together the way it has (this story truly does have the touch of the divine in how well it has played out), and I cannot wait to start this new chapter in my life. I am also beyond grateful to Chad, not only for putting up with my crazy mood swings these past few weeks, but for how wonderful he’s been in general about supporting my goals, no matter what. I couldn’t ask for a better partner, in every sense of the word.
I still have just under two weeks before I can reasonably expect to hear from Yale, but, like my mom pointed out, the news can only get better from here. Other than the graduate school drama that has consumed my brain, life has been pretty boring lately (happy, but relatively uneventful). Which, I guess, is better than some alternatives.
So there we are 🙂 All caught up, and in under 1500 words! Like I said, I plan on being much better about updating in the future, especially since life is so boring, it’s not like I don’t have much else to do anyway. I have a lot to say about world events, so stay posted for some scintillating analysis from yours truly 😉