Sep. 26th, 2004

alphacygni: (rail)
Although the dust continues to settle, I have become a grad student. I've had a few weeks of classes now, dropped one of them under the realization of the staggering workload, and I'm almost able to picture getting the hang of things. Deciding to drop a class was a scary and desperate decision. It will take me longer to finish my program now, but I truly felt like I wouldn't have made it a month otherwise. My study skills are rusty to nonexistent, my reading speed is molasses and all four classes involved intensive reading and writing. It's better to go a bit slower than to crash and burn so soon. I'm going to worry about the logistics of this "taking longer" later. And if you know me, you know that convincing myself to not worry about something now is hugely difficult.

That said, I'm still worried about burning. A question to any current or former students: How do you handle the fact that there's always much more to be done? I'm falling into the pattern I remember from my undergraduate years where I either feel guilty during any non-homework activity, or I throw myself into denial and avoid my work a bit too much.

I also have a life outside of school, and right now it consists of continuing to set up my great little house with Nathan. I really enjoy that, and I wish I could concentrate on it without feeling like I shouldn't be. I want to enjoy living in this beautiful area, without being awash with anxiety constantly about my schoolwork. Anxiety saps the pleasure out of all the best and simplest things, including eating and sleeping. The situation has improved over the month, so I can only hope that it continues to do so.

I learned one thing as an undergrad. If someone asks me if I have time to volunteer to run a restaurant? I'll say NO.

My classes, when I take a breath and notice, are interesting and the readings are fascinating. I'm still plagued with doubts that I'll be able to do the "real work", as we get further into the semester and into projects. Several second-year students have assured me that everyone feels this way.

My classes, by the way:

  • RP651 Planning History and Theory

  • RP656 Judicial Planning Law

  • RP693S Planning for Multiple Publics


I also have a research assistantship which is very much like an additional class. I'm helping a professor research a book about the economic development of New England mill towns.

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alphacygni

September 2007

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