Over the past couple weeks, ever since that fateful speech by my adviser at Orientation, I’ve felt myself kick into overdrive. I feel like I’ve been rushing everything and running too far ahead of myself. I’m not new to this feeling, but I’m also not the best at understanding timing. Beginning something to let it sit unfinished when I know that I can finish it (especially if the deadline is far in the future) is nearly impossible for me. If I get going on something and there aren’t any major impending deadlines, I’m kind of unstoppable. It seems backwards, but the longer I have to complete something, the more gung-ho I am about actually getting it done, and getting it done quickly.
Enter: graduate school. A two-year Master’s program, followed by a 3-to-5-year PhD program. An adviser telling me to plan ahead now. And the fact that I have several months to finish up finalizing my applications. So what have I been doing? Researching, researching, researching. It’s become a problem, maybe, like a secret obsession. I tell myself it keeps me driven, and it does. Figuring out what I want next for my life helps me focus and understand that I’m working towards something bigger than what I have right here.
Then I struggle with the idea that I may be moving too fast. I’m not sure what I want yet, why rush it? I should slow down, let things play out, right? However last night, as I was filling out my new academic planner, I found a section in the back titled “Future Planning.” Perfect for me, right? It has all these little boxes for each month during the next year after my planner ends (aka – next September and on). I started filling it out and realized “Ask for letters of recommendation” fell under September, “GRE Subject Exam” went into November, “PhD applications due” landed in December, and “Graduation” filled in the box for May.
I suppose I could add “Move to _______” and “Begin PhD School” under August, but I just can’t bring myself to go that far quite yet.
Some might say “That’s still a long way off,” and I will understand, believe, and agree with them. But, I’m staring at the proof right in front of me – major things are coming sooner (maybe) than I think. Everyone says life moves faster the older one gets, and my own experience over the last month and half certainly proves that. I’ve already been in classes for a month! I feel like I just moved in yesterday. 26% (almost 27) of this semester is already gone. I’m already booking flights to head home for Thanksgiving.
When I look at all I have to do, it doesn’t seem likely that it will fit in the one little planner that I have, but those pages at the back remind me that it must. My next planner will be filled with deadlines; I have only this one to prepare. Laid out in front of me like that, I feel justified in my obsessive need to figure out what I want after Seton Hall, but I’m still not sure how to handle that fact. For now, I suppose I will stick to spending days in the library trying to power through my GRE Reading List and to looking up author biographies every time I read an interesting article about myth, or magic, or the Middle Ages.