I was thoroughly tired of school, after getting my second bachelor’s in 2015. I was tired of how it seeped into every crack and crevice of spare time I had. I was tired of telling friends “I can’t, I have class,” “I can’t, I have an exam,” “I can’t, I have this project due,” etc., etc. I was ready to embrace the simplicity of a 40-hour-a-week job.
And yet, three years later, here I am again, having class, having projects, having jobs that bear no resemblance to the eight-hours-a-day structure I had fantasized about. What the hell am I doing?
The most recent project completely overwhelmed what I thought were some pretty sweet time-management skills. I am nothing if not brutally adherent to a specific routine (thank you, ASD). But the reading – not that I would call it that – the skimming, grazing, base-touching I employed to get through two years worth of peer-reviewed journal articles in a week laid me out. I caught myself prowling ebay for musical equipment I can’t afford to escape the tyranny of a five-figure reading page load. I spent too much time playing with my blind cat. I watched old epsisodes of Law & Order for breaks. I was literally on my butt in front of a screen for upwards of ten hours a day, and in between all that reading and writing trying to do my job work, for which I get paid (or rather, without which I don’t get paid). I was up into the zero hour (all my clocks are on 24-hour time) almost every night, which is far more depressing than an hour with a number in front of it, trying to cram one more article, one more issue, one more source.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the journal. It fascinated me, and there were too many articles I actually read because they were so interesting. But despite that, right now I’m just wondering, four weeks into an introductory course, if I really want to set myself up for another two or three or more years of this.
But I do love this material. Yes, I gutted it out through a second bachelor’s to build my STEM cred, but being back in the humanities reminds me what home feels like. I wish I could have had a month for this project. The more I learned the more I wanted to know. It was like opening a box you thought had ten chocolates in it and there’s five hundred. Heaven knows you can’t eat them all in one sitting but each one is different and new and looks so tasty.
Who knows, maybe I belong in school. Maybe I do my best work when I’m pushed up against a wall. I’ve been more prolific in the last seven days than I have in the last seven months. I just have to keep reminding myself that no matter how hard it is, it’s intellectual candy and I’ve got a sweet tooth. I’m swamped, but I’m OK. Bring it on.