The Graduate

My grandpa doesn’t say a lot (he prefers to whistle at me when he wants me to get something), but what he does say really has punch. He’s a really sweet grandpa, but he has a way of being totally devastating. For example, this was his response to my graduation from Smith: “I think every graduation day is a sad day. For the first time, you realize that you’re alone, and that you don’t know what to do.”

While it would be an exaggeration to say that I’m “alone,” I do miss my amazing Smith community—dinner table conversations, coffeehouses, late nights in the library—everyday. And while I shouldn’t miss the crazy workload, constant deadlines, and academic stress, this unprecedented opportunity to relax is making me…really stressed out (you know you’re sick—or a Smithie?—when relaxation makes you anxious). As for my plans for the future, I’m heading to graduate school in the fall to start my PhD in English literature. A lot of people have complimented me on having a “plan,” but I still feel like I have no clue what I’m doing. I could “plan” to row across Tokyo Bay in a paper boat, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea:

I told my Mom how nervous I am about starting grad school—did I make the right decision? Will it work out? Is it even what I want to do? She told me that all those questions are just life—I’ll always be wondering stuff like that. Blergh.

Anyways, for me “strategic exits” is all about coping strategies. When I start grad school in the fall, hopefully I’ll be able to give you all the dirt about departmental infighting and grad student exploitation. I’ll try to give you some insight into grad student life from the perspective of a Victorianist : ) In the meantime, I’ll be trying to figure out what to do with myself this summer. As I don’t have a job yet, I’ve been working on ways to say busy (and not start crying every time I think about Smith).

My strategies:

1) Keep in touch (hence the blog!).

2) Have a purpose.

For example, I’ve been voting on this 24/7:

I’m also learning to cook. I made this last night, and it was actually fantastic (sorry, not recommended for vegans or vegetarians). The best part was pounding the chicken with a mallet—I seriously whacked the hell out of that meat (that’s what she said):

I’ve also started learning Japanese, for no particular reason other than my love for Japanese boy bands (that’s another one of my problems—can one really be a serious Victorianist while secretly being more interested in Matsujun’s latest drama role?). So far my favorite word is the word for “peach,” momo. Last night I was doing flashcards with my Mom, and she told me to stop making fun of Japanese people. I swear, my book really lists the Japanese word for “sandwich” as “sandoicchi,” and “juice” as “juusu.”

3) Keep the faith.

This is the most important for me—in spite of all the doubt and uncertainty, I have to believe that things will work out in the end. When I see all the beautiful and talented Smithies around me, I think they’ve already succeeded by being such cool people. So, I’ll try to keep that in mind for myself.

For now, I’ll end with a card given to me by a fellow Smithie before my thesis defense:


    • nickyenperu
    • May 26th, 2010

    I love it when we are all so much more alike than we know. I also stress out when I don’t have enough work to do, so I started learning Portuguese and studying for the GRE and power washing my parents’ house. Your grandpa, and you, just said it best.

      • wwjaneaustendo
      • May 26th, 2010

      Ha ha so true! I’m thinking of cleaning out our laundry room at this point : ) My grandpa is a wise man!

    • jmax
    • May 26th, 2010

    oh gurl, I’m with ya! Working from home=scrubbing the bathtub, pretending to study for the GRE and starting a book club with…myself. Relaxation blows.

    But I do think you should reconsider rowing across the Tokyo Bay.

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