Summer Writing and Realizations

I feel guilty because I haven’t done much writing this summer (or, err, well, in a while, shall we say). Between finishing and graduating from my M.A. program, moving, finding a job, getting ready to move again, and trying to relax a little, I have not been keeping up with my writing. I have, however, still done some writing and with the summer slowly coming to a close, I figured I would share some of it. So here is my summer realization (one of many):

I realized that I do not regret being single.

I made a list of names of the guys I’ve dated. Then I made a list of names of the guys I’ve been in relationships with. I looked t the lists, and I asked myself, “Is there a name on either list that I regret no longer having in my life? Someone I would be willing to give another shot to?”

The answer to both questions was a firm “No.”

The answer resulted from examining each name, recalling the individual, and assessing how things ended with them. One propositioned me in Boston Common for a friends with benefits relationship and upon rejection of said proposition, promptly left me to walk through the Common to the Park Street Station by myself – at night (this was before Pokemon Go came on the scene and groups of people trying to catch Pokemon made the Common slightly more safe). Another informed me that anything we started would have an “expiration date” of September when my graduate program resumed.

Then there was the one who texted me five months after our first date to ask me out again. He didn’t explain the time lapse or why he would not return texts I sent him, attempting to maintain communication. I tried to give him another chance. I told him I’d be open to some of the dates he asked me on, only to realize those dates would entail me making most of the effort and travel. I declined said dates, citing inconvenient commutes. The more accurate truth was that I was inconvenienced by his insistence on his convenience. Despite telling me that he was looking for something that lasts, I began to see that a relationship with him would only last if I were willing to accommodate him without room for me.

I realized that I was fine with not hearing from him again, that I would instead be perfectly content by myself. It was the summer, and I was single. I had my books, the beach, and my best friends if I needed company. No boys needed.

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Project Thankful: Reason #217

When life steers you in a direction you didn’t want, your first instinct is probably something similar to shaking your fist at the sky, demanding why life can really suck sometimes. I know that’s what happened to me with graduate school and the particular program I ended up accepting. It’s a wonderful program, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. Just at the time, I wasn’t quite so happy that I would be entering into a MA program and not a PhD program.

I was adamant the PhD was the program for me. I felt I knew without a doubt that I wanted to get my PhD, and so the PhD would be the logical program of choice. The PhD was the path I wanted to take.

In the end, I chose to enroll in a MA program. The particular school I chose offered me the best deal for my graduate education. Now, I look at the decision, and I’m glad life has steered me in the direction of a MA program because I’m not actually certain that I want a PhD. I don’t know if the PhD is right for me or if that’s the path I even want to take.

The MA is a two year program. A lot can happen in two years.

Project Thankful: Reason #198: The End of My Post-College Purgatory

I’m ready to move on.

I woke up this morning, and I knew that I’m done with my post-college gap years.  My post-college purgatory has ended.  It’s over.  Three years of working in a field I never thought I would end up in, that I started out with no background or training in, and I’ve made it through.  My resume, which I once struggled to put together with relevant experiences, now boasts multiple positions listed under ‘Relevant Experiences.’

How did any of this happen?

When I first signed up to be on districts’ substitute teacher lists, subbing was going to be a job I thought would only last for one year until I started grad school.  That was Grad School Applications Round 1, when I was applying to grad school in part to continue my research but more to feel like I was doing something productive with my life.  Although I was accepted into a graduate program at a Boston-area university, I ultimately had to decline the offer due to financial circumstances.

The plan for my life fell apart, and I found myself facing another year subbing.  Subbing was not all that I did, however.  Impressed with my ability to work with students, the director of an alternative program at a high school reached out to me to tutor some students.  Looking back, I think it was my experience tutoring that began to consciously stir the idea of working with students as a career path.

Year Three…well, Year Three made me realize that while I do want to work with students, I want to teach at the college level.  Not at the high school level.

1 full day + 2 half days = the rest of the 2013-2014 school year.  When the bell rings on the last day of school, it won’t just be a break for me; it will signal the end of a part of my life and the beginning of another.

 

Project Thankful: Reason #112

I have now heard back from all the grad schools I applied to.  I was accepted into three and wait listed for two.  Of those schools, I am currently favoring one in particular, one which at first I was super “I am totally going here!” then was all “I don’t know…” but now I’m more “I think given my options, it will be the best choice.”

Truthfully, I don’t know what is the best choice.  Yet when is there ever truly a best, ideal choice in any situation?  The fact is that you never actually know what will happen or how something will turn out.  All you can do is know who you are, so that no matter what happens, no matter what gets thrown at you, you are still standing at the end of the day.

I like to think I’ve been knocked around enough to be able to recover from a lot of things, including change.

Project Thankful: Reason #108

I have not written an academic paper in three years. 

I like to think of these gap years as a personal sabbatical which has helped hammer out which direction the compass of my life will point me in.  These years have allowed me to have a lot of insights into Education, teaching, and students.  I’ve spent these years in school, just not as a student.

Now that I will be a student again, I’m scared.  What if I can’t write quality, academic papers anymore?  What if I sit down to write a paper and draw a blank, and the only things I can come up with sound like I am stretching to make a semi-good point?  What if while these gap years have allowed me to grow personally, they have morphed me into someone no longer fully capable of conducting and composing scholarly research?

Can you tell I worry a lot?

To prepare for getting back into the scholarly arena, I have been practicing writing a research paper.  I chose a short story I’ve read before and am attempting to write a graduate-length paper on it.  I finished the first draft, and well, it’s crap.  I try convincing myself that the first draft is always crap, but then the fear and the doubt kick in, and I’m just left looking at a mash-up of quotes on the screen.

Then I remind myself that I re-read the short story, took notes on it, and wrote the first draft in a week.  All while working every day and writing the sequel to The Hunted.  Oh, and blogging.

So the draft is choppy now.  With a little work, it will smooth out.  It’s a fixer-upper, but aren’t those the best kind of everything?

Project Thankful: Reason #92

I received wonderful news on Friday: I have been accepted into another Masters Program!  I am very honored by this offer of admission and am especially glad given that the first school who accepted me was one I was hoping I would not have to end up going to, as conceited as that sounds.  

The most recent school to accept me into their graduate program is a school I never thought I would be accepted into.  This is a very prestigious school, and I graduated from a very underrated state school, and my pre-college education was straight public schooling.  So to be accepted into this competitive school for their extremely competitive graduate program is a little surreal to me.  

There are many things and many people I can be thankful for regarding this acceptance.  I’m going to give myself credit though because I have been told I often do not give myself enough credit.  I am thankful for believing in myself because even though I always thought this school was a long shot, and I would tell people that I understood I would most likely not get in, I still had a streak of hope and held onto that part of me that believed in myself. 

Project Thankful: Reason #85

On Saturday, I went into Boston to help babysit my cousin while his dad was at a conference.  Throughout the day, we walked around the Prudential Center and Copley Square, and I quickly learned that my cousin’s conference was not the only event taking place in that area on Saturday.

As we strolled, I noticed the badges many of the conference people were wearing stated an event that was heavily related to academia.  Looking at the attendees, I felt detached from academia and was not sad about that.  

When I think about the mistake the university made, initially telling me I had been accepted into their PhD program when in fact I had been accepted into their MA program, I wonder if it was a sign in a way.  To be honest, when I read that I was accepted into the PhD program, I was elated; on the other hand, inside a part of me was “oh.”  The mistake had made me pause and really take time to reflect on what it is I want.  Definitely to go to grad school, but at what point to stop: at the MA, and get my certification to teach high school English; or, at the PhD, and teach at the college level?