Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Twas the Night Before the End of the Semester

*35 books read for my 3 classes
*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.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

*Snow Day*

Hooray! None of us had school today (except Joe). I was going to spend all afternoon reading 15 articles for class tonight and thankfully it is the end of the semester so we don't have to make them up! It has been snowing like crazy here. After Thanksgiving in Sandpoint it feels like it has been snowing almost all day, every day. We had some fun this afternoon making a snowman and playing in the snow. I will not be sad if there is no school tomorrow either.