Tag Archives: master’s degree

Sometimes I Hyperventilate

21 May

You know when you have the smallest little bit to do of something you have been working on for the longest time ever but you just can’t seem to wrap your head around doing it so instead you sit at your computer and read the news and watch funny videos?  No?  Well, then, I just don’t know what to say to you.  Yes? Read on for a ramble!

So I have been working on my master’s degree basically forever.  Sometimes, when I am mad at myself for ever getting into this in the first place I think back to the day when I found out I got into my program.  I was convinced when I applied that there was no chance.  Then, one day, after a run I checked the mail and inside the little mailbox was a letter from The New School.  I ran upstairs, opened the letter, read that I was accepted and immediately started hyperventilating.  That’s this new thing I have been doing the last couple of years.  I seem to have grown into a person who is simply incapable of handling big batches of emotion all at once.  Case in point: a few months ago I was on a run, listening to Ira Glass on This American Life.  This particular episode (is that what a radio show is called? Is installment better? I should look this up..) was about an entire town being disappeared in the 1980s in Guatemala.  Everyone in the town was killed except for these two little boys who were found recently and one of them was reunited with his dad who had been out of town the day it was disappeared and thought his entire family was dead but in reality his youngest son was alive the whole time and living with the person who had orchestrated the whole disappearance.  Anyway, there is this whole big story with a reunion and it was really very emotional and there I was running and running and listening to it and trying not to cry but occasionally having to pull over on the side of the park to hyperventilate.  Crying and running at the same time is no bueno.  It was not my finest moment.  I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to listen to that podcast while running but, yea, that’s me.  I am good at making decisions.  Anyway, back to the original story.  When I got my acceptance I immediately started calling people:  my parents, my boyfriend at the time, other people.  And wouldn’t you know it? No one answered the phone.  So there I was, standing in my living room, jumping around and also kind of crying, all by myself.  I basically couldn’t breath and thought I might die from happy.  Now that WAS my finest moment.

So anyway, here I am all these years later, finishing up this degree that has at sometimes been empowering and sometimes been incredibly frustrating and infuriating and I want more than anything to be done with it but I just can’t seem to make myself work through the final push.  I am getting in my own way, as I love to do.  I erect these little unnecessary barriers for myself, and then I have a stress attack and an anger explosion but the anger is always directed at myself because I am fully aware that I am just making it difficult for myself for no real good reason.  I like doing that I guess.  (Again, good at decision making.) Makes it all the more exciting when I persevere.  Like, the other week I realized that I had forgotten to fill out my application for graduation.  It was available online all semester long and I just never clicked on the link.  It would have taken me 5 minutes.  So then I got all stressed and was convinced they wouldn’t let me graduate and also was embarrassed by my own idiocy so I kept putting off doing it and then when I finally did it it took like 2 minutes and was so not a big deal.  But this was like, 2 weeks of stress.  I think I got a new wrinkle from forgetting to fill out my form.

Anyway, that’s me and that is what I do.  So I am going to close all my funny videos and stop reading about the tornado in Oklahoma (so sad!) and get back to work.  And I am going to take my dad’s advice.  A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my dad and I was stressing out about all the work I had to do and my dad just said to me, “Rebekah, get whatever it is in your head that is keeping you from doing this out of your head and just do it.  You are almost there.  The only person in your way is you.”

So, get out of the way, me!  Let’s do this!

Let the freak out attacks continue

8 Nov

I feel compelled, in this blog post, to acknowledge that I know that I am freaking out about things much less BIG than not having heat and electricity, or having my house washed away or burned down, or not having access to food, or having lost friends or loved ones. I am sitting here in my lit and warm apartment, my cats meowing hungrily (they are totally thrown off by the time change and subsequent early darkness and think it is time to eat, it isn’t), and with home-cooked food in the fridge.  All that being said, I am freaking out.

I have just recently articulated to myself, and now to all of you, the fact that I am completely and totally self-sabotaging.  Not to the point where I am incapable of being a reasonable human being in the world, but to the point where if I don’t do something I will be bartending forever… not that there is anything wrong with that but it just isn’t for me.  For example, I am really bad at applying for things.  Like, really bad.  I will find a job or an internship or a program and be like

Yea!  That is perfect for me!  Wow!

And then I will go for a run and have an imagination adventure where I get that job or internship, or get accepted into that program, and I am so super awesome at it that the head promotes me, or moves me somewhere really cool, or tells her friends about me and then all of a sudden I am this really fantastic and successful person with this job that I love and everything is great.  Only then I look at the qualifications and see that I need relevant experience.  Don’t have it.  Unless they need someone to shake some cocktails.  And then I look at the recommendations and I fall short.  Who would want to write me one?  What professor would I ask?  What professor would even be willing to write it?  Would they even remember me?  Do they know enough about me to make it work?  Do I even like them?  Does a recommendation from my boss at the bar count as a professional reference?  And then I sit there and stare at the computer and then I decide,

Okay, maybe I will do it tomorrow.  I will send out the necessary emails and put myself out there.  Can’t hurt to try, right?

But then tomorrow comes and goes and then the deadline is past and, voila!, I have not applied and there I am imagining what could have been rather than what could be.  Or, another example!  One of my friends will be like

Oh!  Hey!  This is perfect for you and I know someone who would hook you up and you should so totally email them and drop my name!

And I’m like sweet.  So I look into it and it seems great and then, guess what?  Don’t reach out.  Think about how cool it would be.  Then get nervous about not being a good fit.  Or doing something stupid and having it reflect badly on my friend.  Or I worry that I won’t interview well and that I own absolutely zero business/business casual clothing.  And then I’m like,

Well, let me sleep on it and email them tomorrow

And then guess what? Tomorrow comes and goes and I don’t do it.  I sit there and feel bad about how I’m not doing it but I still don’t do it. And then I realize my friend has put herself out there by offering to put me in touch with someone and I am the asshole who doesn’t follow through.

Or!  This!  I am like inches away from getting my master’s degree and all I need to do is write one thesis (70 pages) and one final paper (20-25 pages) both very manageable and both things I can do, and what happens?  I get so distracted by learning all of the things that I fall into this black hole of information, most of which is not relevant to what I am theoretically working on.  And then I have piles and piles of papers that I have mostly read and lots of blank pages.  Or!  Lots of pages that are written but may or may not be connected to the other pages or the overall theme of whatever project I am working on.  This is a problem I have never had before.  Usually, if nothing else, I can sit on my ass for 8 hours a day, 6 days a week and knock out whatever it is I need to knock out.  But now?  No.  And then I am like

Great, here I am with almost this degree that will make me feel, if not be, more qualified to do something other than pour a pint of beer and what am I doing?  Obsessing over farmer’s rights, downloading Ever Note so I can save everything that ever seems interesting and read it later (but really I read it right away) and downloading real crime books on my Nook (okay, that last part only happened once, about 15 minutes ago).

But then I think

Okay.  How about this?  How about I just finish my thesis and then I travel and try and get my head on straight.  And then I realize I don’t like to travel alone and basically all of my friends are doing things and therefore can’t fuck off for a few months.  And also, I get very stressed out about money and I have to pay off the loans I took out to finish this degree I can’t seem to finish but has to be finished in 5 years otherwise all my work was for naught.

And so now it has been 30 minutes and rather than working on an application for a really cool language program in India, or a conference in Switzerland, or a scholarship to do research, I am writing this blog about how I am incapable of doing anything.  And now I am going to publish this blog, read my newly downloaded nonfiction crime book, and occasionally stress about how I am not doing anything productive.  And then I will go to work until 4am.  Maybe I’ll see you there.