Saturday, January 17, 2009

Life Algorithm

I've been plagued with sleepless nights, trying to map out my future. With all the changes that have occurred in the last two months, I have too many things to figure out and decide. Too many limitations to consider.

About school, my plan was to try to graduate in May, but in my heart I knew that was impossible. I knew that I was going to be overwhelmed and miserable for five months straight, and the prospect was disheartening.

An Enlightening Dinner

Last night I had dinner with my professor, the one I'm going to be interning with this semester. It was a strategy and planning session for our class, Introduction to Language Analysis. We ate pizza, drank beer and went over our plans for the class.

It's my third internship with her in the course of my whole college career. As an undergrad, I interned in History of the English Language. My first semester as a grad student, I interned in Structure of American English.

This will be my last chance to intern with her, so I already feel nostalgic about it. It's a huge learning experience, a teaching job without the pressure, fear and anxiety, and best of all a chance to work closely with someone I admire.

But she is also one of my thesis advisers, so I had a chance at last to talk strategy with a knowledgeable person. She told me my plan wasn't feasible, so now I have a new one, a plan that allows me to breathe and be sane for the rest of the year. My new improved thesis deadline is now in late November!

This semester, I'm going to take my two classes and do the internship, write the thesis over the summer and finish it in the fall, while also teaching First-year Composition as a paid teaching associate in the fall. This is a life I might actually be able to pull off.

To Move or Not to Move

With that mapped out, I now just have to decide whether to move, where to move and how to move. My house is too expensive, but moving is expensive too. Maybe I can get some more work with the time I now won't be using to write a thesis. I consider getting a housemate, but my son and I are a perfect living unit. We respect one another and don't find each other's habits irritating.

6 comments:

Paul said...

Oh the halls of academe. One must make decisions that will most likely affect one's life course. Good luck !!

Olive Rue said...

Hi Indie! Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and leave a sweet comment. Please come back anytime.

Big City Poz said...

November does sound like a better date for your thesis deadline. Did you have a choice between a thesis and an exam? If so, why did you go with the thesis?

You're right about moving being expensive. I thought I was doing it on the cheap, but I ended up paying a fortune to move to Eureka. Of course, it is also highly disruptive and that may be something you don't need until after November.

Congratulations on that paid teaching associate job!

Kristen said...

Dear Indie,

I am so very glad that you are surrounded by sane friends and mentors during this insane time! I think that your new plan sounds much less agitating, and more conducive to rebuilding your life on Your terms :) I wish you much wisdom, much friendship, and much love through this next year. And, feel free to email me if you want another someone in your corner :)

I send you love,
Kristen

Indie said...

Paul, welcome to my blog. I appreciate that you've read my thoughts and ideas, and commented on them.

Olive Rue, your blog is inspiring and makes me want to create! I appreciate you paying me a visit too.

Joe, yes, I really needed some feedback from someone who's been there. We do an "unbound project" which in my case is a thesis, but there is some flexibility, judging from the examples in the dept. office.

And moving is more than disruptive; I totally agree. I am a serious nester too, so it's disquieting not to know whether to nest or whether to pack.

Kristin, as always your kindness touches my heart. I can hardly wait for our lunch together. :) And I've been missing our great emails!

Marie Reed said...

That is a toughie! Sometimes one doesn't appreciate the changes in life until years later. It is soo yough to wait. That is wonderful that you get to intern with such an inspiring professor/ slash mentor. Thank goodness you guess came up with a feasible plan together:) I am jealous! I would love to be in grad school right now!