I am officially a graduate student. I attended my program’s orientation session yesterday, and classes start tomorrow. I don’t exactly know how to describe my feelings at this moment. Several years of work in a range of positions have helped to affirm that I want to become a scholar and a professor, and I am thrilled at the particulars of the opportunity in front of me. That said, I am also incredibly anxious, perhaps beginning to feel the self-doubt that will likely rear its head many times during the next several years as I work to explore the kind of work I wish to do, and the kind of scholar and teacher I will become.
I think quite a bit of this is reasonable at this point: I’ve been out of school, and thus out of situations that require my brain to operate in a critical, academic way, for four years. Many of the people in my program are younger, and thus, while the “life” aspects of graduate school may be newer to them, their brains are likely a bit sharper when it comes to seminar discussions and critical thinking and writing. How do you reclaim that chunk of brain power and work on expanding and refining these abilities? The only answer I can come up with is to just jump in, with an eye towards maintaining a balance in my life that includes cooking, running and knitting (while READING, and this week, attempting to reacquire enough language skills from college-land to pass a placement test…)
So, pie = balance. The pie above, by the way, is fresh peach and strawberry, with a dusting of a crumb topping. Yum!
Also, while the BSJ patiently waits for buttons (and seaming), I’ve cast on for something new:
It’s the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, and it is moving quickly. I’m using Malabrigo in Verdes, and while I worried that the variegation would be too busy for the cabled pattern, I’m liking it so far. This is heading back West, to a dear friend who requested a green hat. I am excited to get this in the mail, as I’m sure the mornings are already turning cold in the mountains.
I’ve also begun making some lists for holiday knitting — more on that soon.
it is normal to feel insecure… but seriously? they’re all 21 or 22!! you’re as sharp as a tack ;)
Yay! Best of luck with classes. I felt the same way after some time off, but trust me, it all comes back so quickly. You’ll be great!
Congrats on being an official grad student! You’ll do perfectly fine and your brain will kick into academic gear in no time — just like riding a bicycle.
Good luck in your program and in the process of finding that perfect place that you want to be!
Just my two cents on some of your concerns…I was out of school for 8 years before I went back and starting taking classes for my PhD. While I was still working in my profession, that time was almost completely fieldwork. I had no time to read scientific articles or actually use my brain in the ‘academic’ sense at all–it was all just day to day repetitive data entry. I had huge concerns about going back. This is what I found: my brain may have been ‘sharper’ back in my master’s days, but I was finally old enough and mature enough that things started clicking. I was able to actually put all the pieces together in a way that finally made sense. I’ve talked to many ‘older’ students who felt the same way. ‘Sharper’ brains may mean more retention, but there is no doubt you’ll have the youngun’s beat on critical thinking. Maturity and experience opens that part up. So I’m betting that like with me, as soon as you just get comfortable with the process again, this time back in school will be more rewarding than when you were younger. Good luck!