I’ve written before about how I yearn to make friends. I’ve been told I’d make those kinds of friends in my PhD program. And, though the people in my program are clearly amazing, they’re more like work-friends than kindred spirits. I have a few dear friends from my MA program, and I cherish time spent with them… but I need local people. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m ready to lay down some roots and finally feel like I belong here.
I’m almost finished with the book MWF Seeks BFF and it’s inspired me to be a bit more assertive in reaching out to established friends, sorta friends, and strangers with the potential to be friends. A coffee date yesterday (or, as we call it, “tea and crumpets”–even if we’re really drinking coffee and eating pie, and oh my god, the pie!) with a friend I don’t see much also made me realize how good it feels to have a close-by support system that exists beyond my husband. After a few botched attempts (and, likely half-assed attempts) to make new connections, I think I’m truly ready to pursue local buds.
Women of Chicago (or, better yet, Women of Oak Park!), I’m coming after you. This isn’t “call me, maybe,” this is “call me, absolutely, immediately.” We’re going out for drinks and it’s going to be awkward and I’m going to say things I’ll surely be embarrassed about later (this happens regularly when I drink), but I’m going to make you my friend goddammit. And if you’re a fun lady in Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, or Forest Park, what are you waiting for? Let’s get apps and ‘serts.
2012 was one heck of a year, arguably my best year yet. Here are the successes in a nutshell:
- got into 4 PhD programs
- accepted admission to UIC
- accepted a research associate affiliation with an NSF-funded program
- won award for top graduate student in my department at NIU
- graduated with my MA from NIU
- became a member of the 20sb executive board
- taught at two summer camps
- moved to Oak Park
- celebrated my 3rd wedding anniversary (what.)
- started my PhD program and began my daily adventure to downtown Chicago
- finished my first semester with all A’s
Peace. Settling In.
I’m not one to set intentions for new beginnings, but I feel like 2013 will be a bit of a fresh start. Though 2012 had its successes, it proved to be incredibly difficult. In 2013, I hope to feel more at peace in my heart and in my life and I hope to settle into our charming home and neighborhood. I want to feel a sense of calm in my spring semester that certainly lacked in my fall semester. I want to know that everything will be okay. I want to feel at home in my home. I want to begin to recognize familiar faces and say hello to people in my neighborhood. I want to make friends, I want to grow roots, I want to dig my feet into the soil and tell the world, “This is where I’m planted.”
So, to 2013, I offer a toast with my favorite raspberry latte. Cheers to peace, cheers to healing, and cheers to hearts that radiate joy.
Today I sit at my desk with 15 weeks, 180 hours of class, 135 graded speeches, and 150 pages of writing behind me. (That 150 pages figure is not an exaggeration; I just opened all the papers I wrote and counted.)
This semester was the hardest 15 weeks of my life. In addition to adjusting to PhD level work, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and struggled with panic attacks. My cat is still sick, my checking account is lower than it’s been all year, my pro-bono work with 20sb has ramped up, and I am still having trouble sleeping.
Despite all this, I feel triumphant. The last 15 weeks have not only been an intellectual challenge, I’ve been challenged in other ways.
….It’s been a social challenge to make new friends at my new school.
….It’s been a time management challenge to figure out how to finish all my work when there aren’t enough hours.
….It’s been a prioritization challenge to identify and articulate what my priorities are and how to honor them.
I’ve been out of my comfort zone for 15 weeks. I’ve identified a need for control precisely when I’ve felt the most out of control. But, you know what? I made it.
I made it.
15 weeks later, I feel like I belong. I feel like I can do this. I feel like I’m where I need to be. If I can get through these 15 weeks, I can get through anything.
So, welcome me back to my blog. Tell me what I’ve missed.