Those of you in graduate school probably know the feeling of being somehow disconnected from the “real world.” In many ways, if we are not careful, graduate school can alienate us from our friends, families, and things that we used to enjoy. However, what I am talking about here is being in a different temporal world – a world where time stands still, yet simultaneously passes by in a single moment. One of the clearest examples of this would be any given semester in graduate school. Week one starts with a new syllabus, and another workload to add to the to-do list. What seems like a week later, half of the assignments have been done, and it is spring break, which does not feel like a break because you spend the entire break trying to catch up, dare I even say try to get ahead. Before you know it, that semester is gone, you have another blur of a “break,” and do the whole thing all over again…and again….and again.
While graduate school seems to both fly by and stand still, there is one thing that is certain: real time goes on. After being in graduate school for a while, I can’t help but feel as though I have somehow been left behind; that everyone I once knew has moved on to new and exciting phases in their lives. In just the short/long five years I have been in graduate school, I have seen friends graduate, start careers, buy houses, start families, etc., etc., etc. All the while, I am “still just in school.” I knew full well that graduate school was going to be a major commitment, and I do not regret my decision to pursue a doctorate for one second, and I still can’t help feeling a bit stuck in between these two major phases of my life. To paraphrase the great Britney Spears, “I’m not a boy, not yet a doctor.”
In the whirlwind that is graduate school, I still find it important to stop and take time smell the roses, or in the case of graduate school taking time to stop and enjoy the process. While I will admit that I have not loved every single second of every single class I have taken, I still very much enjoy being a student. Furthermore, I am so appreciative that I have the privilege of obtaining a level of education that only about 1% of the American population achieves.
Whether your days are too long, your months are too short, or your weekends seem non-existent, I would encourage you all to take just one tiny moment each day to take note of where you are in your process, because where you are is exactly where you need to be – enjoy.