School started today. It was the first day of my second year of graduate school. I felt a lot of apprehension.
I don’t need graduate school for the same reasons I needed it last year. Last year, it was a focal point amidst chaos. It provided order with its schedules and assignments and deadlines and reliability. It was something to direct my attention to when I was flailing. When my marriage was crumbling. When I was living in with my kids part of the week and by myself in a little room near school part of the week. When I was alone and lonely. When I walked confidently along San Francisco’s streets even though my insides were wobbly.
It filled the time when I was away from my kids, my broken family.
But I’m not wobbly anymore. I’m not flailing. And while my family is different than it was last year, I don’t consider it broken.
So even though I don’t need graduate school to provide stability in my daily life anymore, it still has a reliable--ahem, substantial--amount of schedules and assignments and deadlines. While those things are worthy and valuable as I strive to finish my book, those things take time away from my kids, my friendships, and other extracurricular activities. Things I have the energy and desire to be fully engaged in, in a way I couldn't be last year.
My hope is that once I’m back in the routine of school, the apprehension I feel will fade. That I’ll embrace the familiarity and focus. If I manage to do that--and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will--I suspect I’ll become a student consumed with regular thoughts, like the number of days until graduation.