Last night I arrived at my Shakespeare class a few minutes early, and my professor began asking me about myself. I told her all about UCF, its massive size, the English Department, living in Orlando, and my fear that the temperature in NJ has already dropped into the low 60s during the afternoons. We eventually got onto the topic of my plans beyond Seton Hall. I explained that I wanted to pursue a PhD and to become a college professor. At this point the rest of my classmates began to arrive, and we ended our singular conversation.
As it happens, last night we did not participate in a “normal” class; rather, two directors of the Library came to discuss the many resources available to us as graduate students. Because I’d already investigated these resources on my own, my mind began to wander. I started to think about what Dr. Weisl said at our New Graduate Student Orientation: “You really need to start formulating a plan for your theses and plans after graduation. Four semesters will be over before you realize it. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure things out.”
This simple advice could possibly be one of the worst things I could have heard that day, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. I’m sure her advice was well intended and I’m sure that many of my classmates probably needed to hear it. I, however, began planning my steps for post-SHU-graduation the day I decided to attend. I’ve told you before I’m a planner.
Anyway, beset by a bout of nervousness and slight homesickness last night, I took to planning again. Now I have a clear picture, something I can visualize in my head and work towards for the next two years. After tearing my plan from my notebook to pin above my desk as motivation, I began to wonder if perhaps I plan too much. I felt uncomfortable. Am I limiting myself with this plan? Am I forcing myself into a box? Am I setting myself up for failure, disappointment, problems?
I suppose I’ll never know the answers to those questions and for now I should probably stick to what I know – planning in comfort, planning to ease my nerves, planning for the future. Let’s hope it all works out.