*30 academic articles
*15 books consulted for papers
*20 2 page papers
*10 3-5 page papers
*150 student exams graded
*1 10 page research paper
*1 20 page historiography paper
*Brain full of new theories and the occasional weight of the world on my shoulders when I dwell too much on the negative aspects of what I am learning and the intellectual responsibility I feel.
My first semester of my history grad program ends tomorrow and I am thrilled to have a month off! If you would have asked me how things were going in October I would have told you they were not going well to say the least. It was so hard to go back to school after a 6 year break. Doing homework every night instead of lying around watching TV or reading for pleasure was a major change in my life. Writing papers (3 per week on the 3 books per week) really taxed my rusty writing skills, and my initial grades were not to my liking. My advisor, and teacher of 2 out of my 3 classes was giving me Bs and B+s and I was freaking out.
But as I am literally writing my last page and half of my final 20 page paper (due tomorrow) I am reflecting on how happy I am now that I am back in school. I really needed something else in my life; another outlet. I complain all the time about my workload but I honestly feel so much better about myself now. I finally got an A+ out of my grades-way-too-hard advisor, I have a thesis topic in mind, I LOVE class discussions, I finally feel like I know how to approach my homework, and I even have more history nerd friends now so I can talk about post-modern, new social history, and structural racism to my hearts content. I even got to read another book about the Dust Bowl.
I could not have made through one week of school without Joe supporting me around the house and with the kids. I also could not have done it without my mom who had a couple of "Grandma days" with Hayes and Madison during the week so that I could go to class. I also am amazed about how well the mom/student life is going. At the beginning of the year my dad gave me a blessing telling me that the time I devoted to school would be productive, and one day it hit me that this truly happened. I finished a lot of my homework in a shorter amount of time than my single, childless classmates, and got the same or better grades. This was definitely a blessing beyond my own abilities because I am definitely not that smart.
As an undergrad I would be really stressed right now because I have all this work to do to finish up for tomorrow, but right now I feel really blessed to have found a career (in the loosest sense of the word) that I love and the opportunity to pursue it!
All right, now I need to finish my paper.