First semester of grad school classes are over.
A classmate pulled me aside today and asked me, in private, how I seemed so relatively calm and ways I avoided burnout. And I said that, a few days earlier, I was thinking of cake, and how, rather than eating a cake all at once, or eating a cake absentmindedly, it was better to eat a cake slice by slice, in advance, and while focused. That was how I approached work. In bits and pieces. And I said that, in the grand scheme of things, what matters are not grades but moments and relationships. I think that drive is healthy–it’s motivational–and if it adds value to one’s life, then to embrace it. But there are times that drive overwhelms, and it takes a toll on our mental health and whatnot. That is negative. I maintain my equilibrium with perspective: grades don’t really matter, but happiness does. I also have a sense of what I’m willing to sacrifice and what I’m not. Sleep, for one. And rest. I enjoy downtime a lot.
That being said, I’m tired of school. I’ve been bored of school. I don’t think I’ve ever particularly liked school–I’ve enjoyed learning, and I’ve had incredible professors in the past, but the whole process of school, of being in a classroom, of taking tests and writing papers, has wavered in its appeal. I value education, but the process does get dull over time. Being in school is an absolute means to an end. When I teach or speak or communicate, I do it with the notion that listening or paying attention is boring. I don’t pay attention. I never have paid attention. It makes the time go by a lot slower, but my mind is always going a mile a minute, and I get irritated when professors don’t get to the point or make things unnecessarily long-winded.
I’m really only in graduate school because Psychology requires, at minimum, a graduate degree to formally enter the field, and it makes maneuvering the field smoother. And I knew that I had to pursue Psychology because it was just one of those things you know you have to do if you ever get the chance to do it, and I’d avoided it for so long for all the wrong reasons. When I had a breakthrough to pursue Psychology, the people in my life just said, “duh.”
And so I’m happy to finally be pursuing the field I’ve always loved, the subject I’ve clung onto ever since I was 10. There’s something about formally and officially pursuing a field you’ve always loved since you were a child, of feeling as though the stars have aligned. I have my caveats, my wariness, my expectations, my passions, and this field somehow brings it all together. It addresses my concerns, it propels my drive, it lulls me to flow, and there’s something to be said about that.