I’ve had so many first day of school’s that I’ve lost count. Not one for online classes, my extended education has consisted of a tour of diverse Indiana universities and maps of complicated parking lots.
I experienced many familiar feelings yesterday: “Will people like me?”, “Am I wearing the right clothes?” , “Do I need better school supplies?”, “Do I have to pay for all these required texts?”, and “Will I like it here?”
Returning for my PhD seemed more like a compulsion instead of a decision-just something that had to be done. I count my blessings because, so far, all of my career choices have been very clear. This just happens to be my longest and most intense choice.
I feel a bit older than when I last started school. I’ve traded my backpack for a large designer handbag and exchanged my thickly lined eyes for a more natural make-up look. I also feel more prepared than before, with both graduate and real-world experience under my belt. My glances at the bright-eyed freshman could be interpreted as pity: they don’t have a clue. But, then again, who does?
I got the same scary lecture that Husband received last week: “Academia is a lifestyle.”, “90% of marriages end during the pursuit of a PhD.” and “You have to choose academia or your marriage, but not both.”
I needed lots of hugs afterwards.
And then I ordered my books and bought my parking pass and reviewed my schedule. One day at a time. Today, I am happy and in love. I’ll work on being that again tomorrow.