For the first time in twenty-some years, I'm not going back to school this fall.
I happily finished my masters degree on July 12 and I am d-o-n-e. (Still waiting on the diploma though, GW, so you should get on that.) But I'm just now coming out denial about it. The first Sunday night after I finished school, I went about my normal routine (yoga, grocery shopping, prepped some meals for the week, etc.) then I settled into my living room to start working on....oh wait, there's nothing to work on. That's right, I finished school. I wasn't used to the lack of lingering guilt from uncompleted assignments. But that was six weeks ago. Now, the guilt is totally gone and I am completely burnt out on the idea of school right now. Homework, group projects, sitting through lectures, power point slides, and the like, I can't even stomach the thought of it.
Don't confuse this with distaste for my masters program though. I am a proud graduate of The George Washington University. Even though their new University-wide rebranding campaign makes them like like a sans-serif-filled joke. Still proud of the program I graduated from, the hard work I put in, and the accomplishments along the way. But you couldn't pay me to that all again right now. It was a long two years.
I've always loved school, and if you asked my mother I'm sure she'd have a slew of teary eyed stories about how I would get so upset on the last day of school, yada yada yada. While I don't discount her stories, I have only one memory of crying at the end of a school year; and that was at the end of my freshman year of college, as I was driving away from La Crosse I burst into tears and was still crying by the time I started unloading boxes three hours later. I'm pretty sure the excruciating hangover had something to do with my emotional roller coaster, but also the fact that I was not ready to move back home. It's a major lifestyle shift to go from nine months of college living, back to your parents house for the summer. Different rules, different timetables, different people.
I am struggling with a similar shift now in my post graduate school life. I've got a lot more free time, which on the surface is a good thing. Except for the fact that I'm way more productive when I'm over-scheduled than when I have hoards of free time. I no longer have to rush out of the office to beat traffic in hopes of making to class in time. Except now I end up leaving the office late only to get home and ponder, what am I going to do with my evening of nothingness. And probably the biggest change, not seeing my friends and classmates. My cohort was small, 25 people by the end of it. And I got to be particularly close with a few people. One of them, I'm lucky enough to work with everyday so that's not really an issue. But the others, well life gets in the way and all of the sudden it feels like we're having to schedule our chips-and-salsa outings weeks in advance. I'm equally at fault in this, but I'm just saying, life gets in the way.
So, how do you cope with major life transitions? I have friends who just recently had babies, got new jobs, bought a house, moved across the country, etc....and I'm sure they all struggled with the same issues I am. Do you think it just takes time to sink in? I'm not in school any more, there's no lingering papers to be written, no all-day group meeting that need to be scheduled. I'm done. Now I just have to go work. Now I just have to go to work?
I'm sure most of you think this is ridiculous. I fully acknowledge that this is a silly problem to be having. But regardless, it's something I'm struggling with that I'm sure will solve itself with time.
But until then, happy back to school for those of you still attending. And for those who are not, happy September I guess.