Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Hanging On

on October 17, 2014

I’ve been wanting to write on here for awhile, but graduate school is kicking my butt. This year I am teaching two freshman writing courses so I’m having to learn how to balance being a teacher with being a student because I’m also taking two graduate level courses. In the last two weeks, I’ve graded 46 papers, written a 20 page take-home exam, taken a very difficult in-class exam, written a seven page annotated bibliography, had one of my classes observed, wrote a proposal for the classes I’m teaching next semester, met with multiple students to discuss their plans to revise the first paper, done the regular reading for my classes, done the regular class prep for the classes I teach, attended to a wedding, gone to our first baby shower, and taken a weekend trip to a family reunion where I didn’t have time for any school stuff at all. I feel like I spent so much of last year learning time management and how to prioritize my time between being a student and being a wife, and now I’m having to do that all over again with yet another role added to my plate. Not only that, I’m having to adjust to a new level and schedule of productivity because I really can’t do any intense reading or work after 8:00 or 8:30 anymore because I am so exhausted. By the time I got to the end of the day Wednesday (marking my fall break that I am currently enjoying), I felt like I was just barely hanging on.

So that’s my life right now. It’s hard and pretty stressful, but I am still doing things that I love. I feel behind and I’m not doing as well as I would if I weren’t pregnant and actually felt better and more energetic, but I enjoy learning and I enjoy teaching. I’m just on a pretty steep learning curve this year.

I try not to stress about next semester because I know it will be much harder with me adding another role: mommy. I talked to the head of my department to see if I could defer my last semester to the fall, but that’s not possible. Apparently, taking off just one semester and therefore leaving a funding package unclaimed during that time signals to the graduate school that our department has more money than we need and we could lose it. So I’ll be taking two classes and teaching two classes again in the spring. I’ve worked out my schedule so that I’m only on campus two days a week with an hour and a half break midday to eat and pump, and my MIL is going to watch the baby for us. I just hope it works out. Worse case scenario, I can take an incomplete in my classes and get my degree with I finish them later in the year.

I keep thinking about how this timing is stressful and inconvenient. But then I am honest with myself and admit that I would not change it for anything. Every day I can feel our baby getting stronger and everything is worth it. I am getting everything I want–a degree that will let me do what I want to do and a child. It’s really hard, but it’s also an enormous gift that I refuse to take for granted.

Well, I was going to write more about the pregnancy and the baby, but that looks like enough for one day. Hopefully I’ll have time to give some more updates in the days to come–I miss you all and this space.

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2 responses to “Hanging On

  1. Wow that sounds like a crazy schedule but your handling it very gracefully (I’d totally whine!). Your Spring schedule sounds very do-able, especially with help from you MIL (and by do-able I mean within reason with a a newborn!). Looking forward to a pregnancy update :-).

    • Aww, thanks. I try not to be too whiney–I just keep reminding myself how much we wanted this and that it will work out. And in regards to the spring, I keep telling myself that the actual semester is just under four months and I can do anything for four months, but there may be whining next semester. Actually, there will most likely be whining next semester.

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