February quickly passed like a Florida afternoon summer shower that I barely noticed it. After Valentine’s Day I scanned my calendar, and I realized how many assignments were awaiting me. I panicked a little bit, and my first impulse was to take ahold of my calendar for some serious planning. I filled each box in my calendar with things-to-do, making sure that every assignment will be met before its corresponding deadline. Surely, it was no fun. It was not what I’ve envisioned of taking things in a stride as I originally plan to do this year. But, I have to do what I need to do.
My life right now is all about finding balance. In other words, I cannot let my social life outweighs my academic life. Otherwise, everything I have worked for the past years will poof up in smoke. I can imagine some of you arching your eyebrows and asking, is graduate school that daunting? Well, I guess it depends on the person. I remember my last year in my first graduate program also overwhelmed me because of the thesis writing (you see one Master’s Degree was not enough pain so I am doing it again *sarcasm). I had to bribe myself of a trip to the US (never mind if that means breaking the bank) just to motivate me to finish it. This time, I opted for a non-thesis track; however, I have a Comprehensive Exam to pass and get through, or I will not get my degree. I know some people in my class are taking it lightly. Some of them are juggling two jobs besides family and graduate school, and yet they seem to be doing very well. As a matter of fact, some of them are scheduled for a trip while all these deadlines are pressing and passing. I call them “superheroes” for their brave invincibleness. I wish I had their superpower, but unfortunately I don’t operate like them. I’m more like the ordinary student who has to spend time with books to pass the course. I’m pretty sure if I slack off, I either go haywire and off the rails and repeat my courses becoming a retread.
Therefore, here I am on my Spring Break racing with my assignments due right after I return from our week of our spring hiatus. One thing I have learned in my experiences as a GTA (Graduate Teaching Associate-Instructor) is to always anticipate. I need to get on with my forthcoming assignments because surprises are just inevitable. They’ve started early this term, and have never stopped. For instance, last month my Listening 1 class was observed three times. Oh yeah! Usually, you just get one classroom observation a semester, or if you are lucky, maybe one in a whole school year. Imagine, I had three last month: one from my Skill Coordinator, and two from a colleague at work who is doing a project for her Ph.D. class. Not that I am complaining about the idea, I am just making a point about life’s unpredictability. Nobody knows what is coming; thus, preparing ahead of time is an important lesson to learn, or at least I must say, one thing I’ve learned.
Having that in mind, I race with my forthcoming assignments, which consists of a slide presentation, an interview transcription, a research paper, and a review for my Comprehensive exam. For days I did nothing but tackle one assignment after another, deciphering academic text as I burned my eyes in front of my computer. Sure, I have beaten my deadlines, but just like anybody who goes in to a race or marathon, after racing non-stop, I’ve felt my body deliberately slowing down and feeling the exhaustion. When I’ve started feeling it, my first reaction was wanting to sit down and catch my breath. I can feel my body feeling overwhelmed by information overload. No wonder, I begged my husband yesterday to go out – for a little fun. I know that “fun” may be an absurd word right now because I am in the middle of schoolwork and my teaching job. But, I don’t think “killing myself” (okay, that’s an exaggeration) is what finding balance is all about as well. Because of my obsession to beat the deadlines I self-imposed, I sometimes forget that my brain is not the only part of my body. I also have my heart and soul that I need to feed, or I would never feel the wholeness in me. So, as I am writing this, I am waiting for my husband to get ready for our small adventure. Hopefully when we come back I will be refreshed to continue my race to get through the finish line.
Thanks for reading!
My favorite events in February