After last semester ended and I began to write statements of purposes for PhD applications, I needed a break from anything related to school. It got really overwhelming and I stepped away for a few moments to not be a student. This meant I avoided campus, avoided email (okay, I still checked it and responded to important ones), did not read scholarly articles/textbooks/etc., and stayed home with a cat and my knitting during my days.
I just needed peace and a place where I wasn’t the goody-goody all of the time, even though I know that is my own-doing. Something just got to me and I snapped and disappeared for a few days. (That’s when it would have been really handy to have a cabin in the woods and remove myself from everyone….)
Then, I started to get the reminders of why I like what I do. I maintained my 4.0 this semester and remembered why I work so hard all of the time. This last semester was tough and there were moments where linguistics got me down and made me fearful that I would lose my 4.0. Although I felt more comfortable with my other classes, I still worked just as hard because, not only do I want the A, I am a hard worker. I care not only about the work but how the work looks, especially when it’s something that I can use in the future. I only have one more semester of course work to prove I can graduate with a 4.0.
After being reassured that I am a good student capable of good grades, I got asked to be in a webinar with one of my professors, her colleague, and a grad school buddy of mine, which marked my first official publication for my CV. It was really neat and a confidence booster.
The final thing that brought me back to my bad self (the overly-annoying, studious goody-goody) was returning to campus. I went and picked up my mail and there was a thank you card in there from a fellow graduate student.
“I want to thank you for all you’ve done throughout this semester as President of EGSC (student council), as my friend, and colleague. You have helped me figure out a lot with the advice you’ve offered, you’ve made me laugh, and you’ve provided me with opportunity by inviting me to join EGSC. You are an extremely hard worker and I am confident that you could do anything you want because of your perseverance.”
It was entirely unexpected and from someone I wouldn’t necessarily expect this from. It was such a great gesture and it made my day so much better and brighter. I was so honored by the note and it helped remind me of who I am as a student.
So, maybe I needed those few days. Maybe it’s good to take a few days every once and a while and regain your ground. If you are lucky enough, take the moments to breathe because you will be so much more refreshed when you get reminders of this and remember why you are pursuing your dreams in the first place.