Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Just Run, and Don't Look Back.

After a long day of school, teaching, writing, grading, and reading... I go into my room, look at my bed, and think:

(I even think it in that creamy, sultry voice, too)
School is as busy as ever.  When I woke up on Monday morning, it suddenly occurred to me that I was nearing the end of the semester.  And then it occurred to me that I had papers to write.  And this realization inspired a sense of subliminal horror that would make Mr. Poe envious.

Throughout the semester, I have been constantly thinking about my thesis and what I want to write about.  I've selected pieces from Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Kate Chopin, and (surprise, surprise) these fictional works are about insanity and depression.  I am really excited about this project, and I love seeing and making connections in all of my coursework.

I was advised to select members of my thesis committee, and the process resembled a marriage proposal in my mind.  I scheduled a meeting with one of my most helpful professors to "pop the question," to ask if he would be the chair for my committee.  Imagine the conversation going something like this:

Me:  So, we've been seeing each other for some time, now...
Him: Yes.
Me:  And... you've gotten to know me fairly well.
Him: True... true.
Me:  Okay, well... I'm just going to say it... will you please be the chair for my committee?
Him: I would be honored (he actually said that).

Now, imagine me repeating that conversation on two other occasions.  Luckily, all of my committee members are top-notch professors and inspiring human beings.  I feel so honored to work and learn from them.  Every time they speak and offer advice, I feel like my brain has breached intellectual nirvana.

---------------------------------------

On a different note, I attended an English department banquet, tonight.  I felt so proud walking into the Hinckley Center with a guest, my handsome dad.  Today is his birthday, and I am grateful that he wanted to share the evening (and free food) with me.  I was dreading this dinner.  I'm not particularly fond of gatherings, or honorary occasions, or hefty speeches, or stuffy clothing.  I was especially worried that the dinner would be absolutely interminable.  Boy, was I humbled and pleasantly surprised.  The evening was lovely, and I felt privileged to associate with staff, faculty, and students who work diligently to forward the vision of BYU.  This banquet made me extremely proud to be a BYU Cougar... more than any clean sweep volleyball victories.

The speaker of the night delivered a speech that hit me to the core.  He talked about how after graduation, after job opportunities, after major steps in our lives, we are faced with decisions.  But these decisions are rarely choices between good and bad; they are choices between good, and good, and good.  We can vacillate endlessly between these decisions, or we can take a risk and choose.  And as long as we do our best with this choice, everything will be okay.  It could be that we realize that this choice wasn't the best for us, but now we know that we can choose another and try again.

I needed to hear this.  When people learn that I'm in graduate school, some assume that I'm "a real smart cookie" to have everything figured out.  Outwardly, I smile, but internally, a part of my heart weeps and dies.  I love school and my job, but I have no idea what I'm going to do once I graduate.  I didn't even think that I would make it to this point.  But, the uncertainty of the future smiles (maybe smirks) at me.  I feel like if I make a choice, run with it, and give my best, something will happen where I will, at least, emerge with better understanding.

It's probably best to start with a run.  Oh, and bring band-aids.