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Off on the wrong foot

September 11, 2012

So here’s the thing everyone told me that I refused to believe:

Ph.D. programs are hard.
Now that I’m finally beginning to believe that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done or will ever have to do, everyone is all, “Oh, you just have the jitters. It will get easier.”

I don’t think it’s going to get any easier, you guys.

I’m now in my third week in my program. The week leading up to the semester was a shitshow. Gus got really sick, and Joe and I were distraught. We were convinced he was going to die. In fact, I hadn’t written about this on my blog because I was afraid I’d jinx his recovery. We’ve been in contact with our vet regularly, and I can finally say, three and a half weeks later, that he’s nearly healthy again.

But it was a helluva way to start a new grad program. Talk about being off on the wrong foot.

Gus’s illness in conjunction with moving, a new method of commuting, and adjusting to a new program, a new campus, a new cohort, and new sets of expectations completely threw me off my game. My friends from my MA program didn’t even recognize my (lack of) work ethic. How could anything rattle Renee? She’s the one who is always on the ball, always on task, always has her work done, always goes above and beyond expectations. Not this time. I simply wasn’t myself.

Determined to change the way things were going, I got up early on Saturday and decided to tackle my ever-growing to do list. I wanted a Saturday reminiscent of last fall, where I would powwow for hours in my office, kick it into high gear, and produce some quality work. I hadn’t felt like that in a long time and I was beginning to wonder if my days of academic success were gone.

I’m happy to say that it worked. Saturday morning’s productivity turned into Saturday night productivity, which led to Sunday morning’s productivity and Monday afternoon productivity. Now that it’s Tuesday, my to do list has officially run out of lines, but I’m checking things off.

With each check, I feel a little bit more like myself.
I think this semester is going to turn out okay after all.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather permalink
    September 11, 2012 9:40 am

    I am glad that Gus is doing better and that you are back in the groove. You are awesome, lady 🙂

  2. September 11, 2012 10:00 am

    Independently, moving, new school, and pet problems are tough to deal with. I can’t even imagine how you’re handling all those mixed together AND still participating in 20SB stuff. You’re kicking more ass than you think, lady.

  3. September 11, 2012 11:17 am

    You are a rockstar. You got this.

  4. September 11, 2012 12:31 pm

    I swear it really does get easier, not because the work load decreases, but because you get so much better at handling it. But, of course it’s always hard. I didn’t really have that feeling like I kind of knew what I was doing until my last semester of PhD coursework. And the hardest thing is dealing with personal, real life things when you have so much to get done. Glad to hear Gus is doing better!

  5. September 13, 2012 5:42 pm

    Oh, you just have the jitters. It will get easier…..joking! Dig in, nothing worth having is handed out free.

  6. September 14, 2012 7:42 pm

    Glad to hear Gus is doing well! It sounds like the transition was a hard one, but I know you’ll get the hang of it. The beginning of the school year has been hellish for me as well, but it is finally starting to even out. Hang in there! =)

  7. September 26, 2012 12:40 pm

    I’m so glad Gus mended! That’s so much change all at once, but it sounds like you’ve got it going the way you need now!

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