Thursday, May 12, 2016

Feeling Panicky

New things scare me. They scare the pants off of me. In fact, I usually just avoid new things so that I don't have to worry about losing my pants in public. Sometimes, however, those things are necessary. Like actually giving birth to the baby I got myself pregnant with.  Apparently once it's in there, it has to come out one way or another... The pants really did come off in public that time...Anyway, I digress.  Three years ago I started thinking about graduate school. My employer offers this amazing benefit of 6hrs of in-state tuition EVERY semester.  That's incredible. At first I didn't avail myself of this opportunity because I had no desire to be back in school.  I needed to focus on just having a "real job" for a while.  Then I was focused on having a baby. After I finally started sleeping again after the baby arrived (a year later), I realized that I'd actually fallen in love with librarianship and I really wanted to be an official one. I wanted to be able to say I was a librarian without getting the stink-eye from people who had the real degrees. And there was a way to get a (nearly) free degree.  I would be stupid not to take them up on it.

So I applied, got accepted, and then had to go through with it. Two and a half years ago, in January of 2014, I left my baby for the very first time ever and spent a week with strangers in what my program calls "boot camp."  And oh boy, was it. There was an incident at the end that I kind of hope I'll have forgotten about in another decade or two that involved hysterical crying in front of the entire cohort after my final quiz essay got deleted right in front of me, two minutes before the time was up... I was fairly sure there were bets on whether or not I'd be quitting the program. I was sure thinking about it myself. But that was after staying up all night long to finish a paper (turned it in at 5:45am!), and I decided to give myself at least a semester to see if I could handle it.  And I could.

In fact, this program turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life.  Only taking two classes a semester allowed me to really focus on each class and give them the attention they deserved. I turned in every assignment (with only a few extensions), and after that darned boot camp class gave me a B+, I got straight As (even a few A+s), leaving me with an overall GPA of 3.98.  I am incredibly proud of myself.  I accomplished this feat while working full time, parenting a toddler every moment I wasn't working, and often on my own as my wife works several jobs to make ends meet and is usually gone in the evenings and weekends, especially in the fall. On the other hand, now my kid knows how to play on a computer better than I did at the age of 15. Hey, cheaper than the babysitter we used to have to get on my school nights. By the end of this program we had a real routine down pat.

Now, however, I am facing a new challenge. Graduation.  I'm terrified.  It was scary enough in high school, with people holding my hand at every turn, and a practice session.  In college, it was pretty horrifying, but at least I was familiar with the campus and had sat through a couple previous ceremonies for friends.  Now, though, I have to travel three hours to the campus, pick up my cap and gown from a building I've never been to (in person, I sure as hell stalked that place on google maps and with pictures and building blueprints), assemble at another place I've never been to, and then yet another place.

This is a three day event for me.

  • Tomorrow we'll drop our son off at daycare where he'll wait to be picked up by one of his dads for the weekend. We'll drive to our hotel that is half an hour away from the city (because when I booked six months in advance everything within a half hour radius was booked solid), then drive to the city to pick up my cap and gown.  Then back to the hotel to steam it and finish freaking out for the evening. 
  • Saturday we'll wake up excruciatingly early and drive to .... some... parking spot.... on a super crowded campus... and join the thousands of people who will be there to see their undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral candidate student graduate.  This place is so big that I won't walk that day. I'll just stand up in a big fat group of my friends. My poor wife will likely be sitting alone in this stadium.  Then we're free for the rest of the day, hopefully to meet up with friends for lunch or dinner, and probably to do some tourist-y type graduation pictures. 
  • Sunday we have to do it all over again, except on a smaller scale. This one will be my program's convocation. This one I'll be walking in. This is the one that will make me feel like I've really graduated, I think. Then we'll probably have lunch and head back home to pick up our son where he'll have been dropped off at our friend's house.  Then I will be able to relax.
Did I mention it's all going to be on live feed?  If I fall down, ERRYBODY'S GONNA KNOW. I have to go through with this. I have to do it. When it's over I'll be so glad I did it.  But holy crap am I scared.  I took today off to basically clean my house and calm myself down so I'm not rushing around having a panic attack tomorrow. Ha. Who am I kidding? That's exactly what's going to happen anyway. Send me a kind thought if you have a moment this weekend.  Or, if you want to watch me fall on my face, here are the links to the graduation ceremonies:

Part 1: Saturday, May 14th at 9:30am (Campuswide ceremony, I will be standing up with my fellow graduates in a large group, 2hrs)

Part 2: Sunday, May 15th at 9:30am (Smaller ceremony in which I will cross the stage, 1.5hrs)

P.S. I'll be wearing a dress so my pants can't be scared off of me.

1 comment:

  1. Tell the daddy Js to bring Jasper to watch you on Saturday, and then Julie won't be alone :) I'm so proud of you! I know how hard it is to work two full time jobs (being a mom is a full time job!) and go to grad school. And you did it! Congratulations to you, my friend!!


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