Hello readers (can I tell you how thrilled I am to find that I HAVE readers? thrilling!) –
OK – so I know that so far I’ve probably spent too much time on the less-fun bits about grad school: the anxiety that comes from wondering if you’re good enough for your program, the insecurity of facing a bunch of fresh-faced 18-year olds who expect you to know everything, and the challenge of managing vast swaths of unstructured time.
What I probably haven’t spent enough time on is celebrating the freedom that comes with being a graduate student. Sure – we’ve got work-a-plenty to do and our share of heavy academic responsibilities, but we’ve got something else that those poor sods putting in their eight hours a day (or more) at work haven’t: freedom.
Sure, unstructured time can be difficult to manage sometimes, but it can also provide all sorts of space for creative thinking, exploring and dreaming. Feel like staying up really late with your books and then sleeping in? Do it. Feel like taking your work to a cafe, rather than being tethered to your desk all day? Go ahead. Yoga in the afternoon? If that’s what it takes, then yes!
Most graduate students only take a couple of classes at a time. Even when you add the hours dedicated to TA work, we are definitely far more in control of our own time than we would be if we were trading it away for money (mind you, we’d have MONEY- but at what intellectual and emotional cost, eh? huh?).
My point here is to suggest that we all stop fretting about much we have to do (I know, I know.. it’s a LOT!) and take a few minutes a day just to appreciate how great it is that we’re also doing this crazy, daring thing called grad school. That we’ve basically signed up to have the time and space to think and dream and learn.. and maybe just ‘be’ for a bit.
And really, that whole ramble was just an excuse for me to suggest that I’ve been taking breaks to appreciate my own freedom (and the fact that I’m not tethered to a desk – trust me, I’ve been there) by going SKATING ON LAKE ONTARIO! I have to say, if you’re living in Kingston and you haven’t been skating on the lake yet, get thee to the frozen water! I took a wonderful break a few days ago and took to the ice with a friend… and let me tell you – it was magical.
Here’s a picture:
Seriously: this lake skating thing has me sold on wintering in Kingston. I’m just grateful my flexi-schedule gives me the freedom to take advantage of blue skies and perfect ice conditions whenever I feel like it. Go, grad school!