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July 11, 2006

Breathe in. Breathe out.

No, actually, I am not okay.

I don't even know where to start.

Actually, I do know where to start: I know that I write at least one of these posts per semester. I know it'll pass. I know I always get through it. But knowing all this isn't really helping at the moment, so I need to write it all again anyway.

This semester is killing me. Conventional wisdom says summer is supposed to be easier or lighter or more fun, right? Tell that to the people who run my school. Regular semesters are, I don't know, twelve or thirteen weeks, I guess. Classes meet once a week for three hours. (I take evening classes, so they're all 6-9.) But the summer semester is only six weeks or so, which means that classes meet twice a week. For me, that means that two days a week (Monday and Wednesday right now), I leave work a little early to drive for an hour and then take the subway to campus, go to class, and then reverse the commute. I'm lucky if I get home by eleven. I've usually had some caffeine and/or sugar to help keep me awake for the drive, so I can't fall asleep right when I get home. I end up getting less than six hours of sleep most of those nights.

And since I leave early twice a week, I have to make up the time. So I generally work through my lunch breaks, and try to get to work a little early and stay a little late on other days. Not a big deal, but it adds to the general feeling of "Aaaagh!"

Of course, more frequent class meetings aren't the only result of the summer schedule. It also means way more work, because all the work from the whole semester class is crammed in. The reading never ends. Things are due and then all of a sudden more things are due. This class is really, really interesting but I feel like I'm working so hard just to keep up that I'm not really getting as much out of it as I could.

So that's the class-related stress. There's other stuff that adds to it. Work is generally bleh, and we have a new person starting next week and I'm training her, and this is the person that my boss basically told me was "smart like you but with a better personality." Um, thanks. And it's hot out, which means I have trouble sleeping. And my roommate is moving out soon, which throws me off on a number of levels. I think I'm ready to live alone for a while, so I'm sort of looking forward to that, but also nervous, and he's moving far away and I'm going to miss him. And he's sort of been in the process of moving for a while now, which is both physically and emotionally chaotic. And I'm not sure how I'll feel about it all when he's actually gone.

And... I don't know. Other random stuff. Feeling generally lonely and unliked/unlikeable, both in blogland and real life. And therefore trying to be more social, which adds to the scheduling exhaustion. Stressing about my upcoming birthday, but that's a whole 'nother post. Just generally feeling like I'm barely keeping my head above water. And like my brain is never ever quiet. Which means that I forget stupid things, like how I still haven't managed to return the Netflix DVD I watched on Friday. Or how I haven't actually done real grocery shopping in maybe two and a half weeks now.

Okay. I think I need some... priorities, or something. The class will be over in 20 days. That's not really a long time. It just feels like it at the moment because just the thought of facing tomorrow makes me want to cry. I do realize that if I cut out everything fun, if I forbade myself from knitting or blogging or reading or watching TV, I might be more rested and less stressed about schoolwork. But I think I'd also be less sane. So I'm trying to think of some other things I can stop stressing about for the next 20 days. (Last class is July 31. My birthday. I will spend my birthday at work/class/commuting from 8am to 11pm. That really doesn't seem fair.)

Things About Which I Will Not Worry

1. Updating the SRP progress page more than once a week. I'm sure you all really don't expect that anyway. I like doing it, but it takes a while.

2. Staying on the SRP top ten list. That's what August is for. Besides, it will be more exciting if I can catch up from way behind, right?

3. Cooking. I'll still try to eat reasonably healthily, but it won't kill me to live on PBJ, canned soup, and Lean Cuisine for a few weeks, right? And this is just "not feel guilty about not doing," not "not do." So if I want to cook, I can, but I won't feel like a horrible person if I don't.

4. Cleaning my bedroom. The public areas of the apartment are reasonably neat and easy to maintain, so I'm just going to forget about the bedroom for now. No one but me goes in there anyway, and now that I've moved my TV and general homework-doing area to the living room, I'm generally in there only to sleep.

5. The Amazing Lace. Um, not that I seemed to be very worried about that anyway. Maybe I'll pick up some more of the challenges in August.

6. Social or familial engagements. Again, not "can't," but won't stress about skipping/avoiding them.

7. A sleep schedule. Yeah, yeah, I know that skipping sleep won't help. But sometimes an extra half hour of reading or knitting does more for my general feelings of well-being than an extra half hour of sleep would, so I'm not going to worry about it all much. This also rescinds my general ban on naps, especially as I've discovered that napping on the couch leaves me much less groggy than napping in bed.

8. The Rule of Ten. yeah, like you didn't see that coming. For the rest of July, I can knit whatever I darn well please to help me cope.

Posted by Kat at July 11, 2006 04:17 PM

Not liked in blogland? Don't be ridiculous. You're Loved!

Posted by: The Feminist Mafia at July 11, 2006 04:52 PM

Whoever told you Summer semester is easier? Summer semester is the definition of hell on earth.

Posted by: Christine at July 11, 2006 04:59 PM

I'll second that you are loved, including by usual lurkers.

You sound pretty stressed. (Would chocolate help? Or gin? Or Paxil? When I stop grocery shopping an cooking, I debate between the three.)

I LOVE rule 8 and think it might be a good one in all times of trouble.

Posted by: The Purloined Letter at July 11, 2006 05:00 PM

*hugs* You are loved. And appreciated. And I think a bit crazy for trying to do SRP by yourself...

Don't feel bad about not eating so right, but please try to drink water (icky, I don't like water) and remember to brush your teeth twice a day. ;) Actually when I feel groggy and crappy I go brush my teeth. I wish my dentist believed me..

[Luna bars are yummy and healthy(ish) ... ]

Posted by: peninah at July 11, 2006 05:02 PM

There is beer in the fridge if you need it -- quite a bit if I recall correctly. :-)

Posted by: defulct at July 11, 2006 05:29 PM

Kat, dear, I live like ten minutes away and I work a minute's walk from your cubicle. Vent to me. Let me drop off food, beer, chocolate, yarn, furry things at your apartment sometime. Seriously, if you ever need anything, just ask. Even if we don't know each other that well. I'm more than happy to help you out.

Posted by: Ali at July 11, 2006 05:34 PM

You are definitely loved! And you can do it, you know you can! :)
My recommendation for de-stressing (note to self: take my own advice)... try, for just like 10 minutes a day, to sit and do NOTHING. Not watch TV, not knit, not think about homework, NOTHING. I find that it can help a lot -- sometimes even when I'm supposedly relaxing, I'm trying to "rush to relax" which is rather counter-productive, and it's hard to rush when you're doing absolutely nothing ;-)
Good luck!

Posted by: Tracy at July 11, 2006 07:09 PM

Not loved in blogland? Aw, Kat, you are appreciated here! Your work on the Knitting Olympics was Herculean. And the SRP was brilliant! I'm enjoying that mightily. :)

You will get through this. I can relate so much to what you write - I always felt overwhelmed when I was taking classes, although I also survived handily.

At least take multivitamins, eh?? I can't lecture anyone about eating right, because I'm a big fan of the popcorn and pinot noir dinner. :)

Posted by: Chris at July 11, 2006 08:14 PM

Know that while I may not comment often, I am reading every single post you make. I am cheering for you when good things happen, I am sympathizing when things are rough.

As Ali said, I am likewise only minutes away. What's more, I don't have a day job clogging up my schedule. If I can ever help out by running some errands for you during the day, please let me know. I'd be glad to be able to ease your worries a bit.

Hugs, Kat!

Posted by: Jen at July 11, 2006 09:07 PM

If I'd have had a blog during grad school, I'd have written very similar posts on a regular basis. I think your coping list sounds like an excellent strategy. And if people are offering to drop off food, take them up on it! You'll feel loved and fed at the same time.

Posted by: Sonya at July 11, 2006 09:11 PM

Oh Kat, I remember those days. Library school is a special kind of hell but we librarylanders are strong and you will make it through.

Check out the latest Cat and Girl - it will cheer you up!

Posted by: Deb at July 11, 2006 10:38 PM

I did one summer semester of grad school, which was so traumatic (and aimed at those who weren't working), that I took the fall semester off to recuperate. Christine, is right -- pure hell.

If we can do anything to make it more bearable -- bake, suggest relaxing and mindless knitting patterns, email you our SRP progress so you don't need to come looking for it -- just let us know.


And remember to breathe!

Posted by: sprite at July 11, 2006 11:08 PM

If all else fails take a semester off, did similar working FT and schooling FT and finally had to take a semester off from school to recover, what did that do for me? I finished my program one semester later than all the rest of my classmates and it was easier to look for a job in my new field as there weren't any other new grads out there looking at that time of the year!!! Every cloud has a silver lining...

Posted by: Maureen at July 12, 2006 12:26 AM

You are likeable in real life! I know how it is to feel unlikeable, though. If there's anything I can do, please, let me know. I have all the time in the world. Just not tomorrow at 8... :(

Posted by: Kristy at July 12, 2006 12:00 PM

Hang in there...and of course, you are liked...and for sure appreciated. I would never even come close to putting together such a new SRP as you are doing. You are helping all of us have a wonderful and fun summer by giving us a reason to curl up with a good book!

Posted by: Sara at July 12, 2006 04:27 PM
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