I am no longer a first-year. Do you know how great it sounds not being called a “first-year”?! Do you know how great it sounds being called a “second-year”?! Being called a second year is like an initiation – you survived your first year of grad school, now all you have to do is survive one more.
Easier said than done.
I will try to be as transparent as possible in this blog post so that in the months to come I can reflect back knowing full-heartedly that all my fears, worries, and anxieties were just that – fears, worries, and anxieties. I hope to reflect back that the fears, worries, and anxieties didn’t keep me away from my goal. Instead, they fueled the goal. They kept me going.
There has been SO many instances this summer where I wished we never had a summer break. I wished that I could just continue on with the progression of the program so that I could be THAT much closer to being done. By the end of this year, I will have spent 19 years of my life in school. NINETEEN YEARS. I am ready to be done. Forever.
But it’s not that easy. Trying to figure out how I will get through two more semesters of grad school is the equivalent of me trying to solve a Rubix cube – I can’t. I’ve already viewed two of this semester’s syllabi and my brain wants to explode. I can’t even figure out what is due on the first day and what needs to be printed or what textbooks I’m supposed to bring. That’s where my worries come into play. If I can’t even figure out the syllabus, how the heck am I ever going to learn actual occupational therapy material!? It literally hurts my head trying to figure it out.
As much as I want to be done grad school, there is part of me that knows the next three months before winter break will require so so so many sacrifices. Last year it was extremely tough for me sacrificing so much of my running passions. Every ounce of blood beating through my heart wants to run an ultra. Some days I miss ultra training so much that it crushes me. I just want to run up east coast mountains and be immersed in a 20-mile training runs without distraction. I selfishly envy every runner who has an established career and isn’t bogged down by lectures, readings, and 24/7 studying. It pains me knowing I haven’t ran an ultra since 2017.
It’s also extremely difficult for me to sacrifice time with loved ones. I so badly want to watch Eagles games with Josh without having my laptop open, searching databases during commercial breaks. I want to be able to spend time with my family without worry of the chapters I have to read in my textbooks or the online lectures I have to listen to before an upcoming class. I just want to be DONE so that these things aren’t what’s preventing me from living a life of guilt-free football or family time.
I’m not looking forward to the 55-minute commute (one way) four days per week. I’m not looking forward to stopping at the gas station every 2-3 days so my gas tank isn’t reading “E”. These instances are the instances in which I truly, with all my heart, miss Bloomsburg. I never ever ever thought I would miss Bloomsburg but, like they say, you never know what you’ll be missing until it’s gone. I miss the four-story library (SU’s is a pathetic two). I miss having a picturesque view of the rolling mountains of PA every single morning. I miss my close friends, meeting up with them for dinner, or late night walks from Main St back to upper campus. I miss the cool fall air at the beginner of the semester (I do not miss the freezing cold winter mornings though). I miss runs straight down to the river. I miss it and I have tried finding every excuse to go back to that area this summer (none of which came to fruition). [end rant]
Classes start on Thursday and it’s really hard knowing that the next few months are going to be stressful. I’ve worked hard this summer to lose my first-year-grad-school weight and to gain my cardio back. I don’t want the weight to come back and I surely don’t want to lose my cardio. Time will tell. It’s hard for me knowing that my life still seems “on hold” because I’m stuck in the natural progression of this program.
It’s hard knowing that I still don’t have a steady job like most of my people my age or that I still live with my parents or that I have a car with 312,000 miles on it. It’s hard for me knowing that other people have health benefits through their employer and that if I don’t get approved for health insurance within the next few weeks I’m screwed. It’s hard feeling like my wallet is always empty and that my bank account is dwindling. There’s a lot of external stressors that add to the stress of grad school as a whole. It’s hard.
I know that one more year of grad school is such a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things.
I know that the sacrifices and stress will be worth it when I become a practicing OT.
I know that I have a strong support system who will help me when I need help.
I know that there are SOO many things out of my control and that I need to focus on the things that ARE in my control.
I know that stress is inevitable; afterall, it’s grad school.
I know that I should never compare my life to others around me or on the Internet.
It’s convincing the internal Lyndsey that these are things she should know and embrace and remember and live by.
With another semester looming over my head, I can only hope that each day that passes by will seem like I am one day closer to accomplishing my goal. That’s the hope I need to hold onto. Tight.