Hello? Is anybody still here?
Good thing I don’t write this blog for a following that expects regular posts, eh? Just finished the semester this past Monday – last semester of coursework ever. What a relief!
It was a rocky one – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Tears, laughs, stomach aches, sleepless nights and unfathomable exhaustion. Had a bit of a crisis of faith, too, like I’ve really chosen the wronnnnnnng path by doing this degree. Shouldn’t I be working somewhere full time, contributing to my family and saving for retirement like a grown-up instead of working 70+ hours a week on a pittance? I applied to a few dream jobs, too, for which I did not get hired – has all this education and career development actually rendered me unemployable since I’ve been out of the traditional workforce for so long? Several people assured me that it didn’t, but they also assume I’m after an academic career. I’m not, so I still didn’t feel much better. I still don’t know if it’s hurt me. But, I dug into final papers and applying for summer jobs and pulled it out in the end.
Ph.D. – 50% complete.
I’m staying in DC this summer which I’m really happy about – I’m looking forward to having some time to explore my own city! So much to see and do here that I have not had a chance to yet, even after two years. I was going to do my first comp exam on May 23rd, but found myself too exhausted at the end of this semester to push on through as all my classmates are doing. My health was suffering and work deadlines are also competing for my currently-limited energy, so I postponed the Comparative Politics comp until September. My Justice comp is not until the end of October, so there is still a large enough chunk of time in between to prepare. The minute I made that change, I felt as though a large weight of stress was lifted – I need to take care for my health and get some rest. I’ll still finish both comps by October which was the goal – I had just rushed the first one in case I got one of those dream jobs.
I do have summer employment, though. I’ve got 8-10 hours a week through July continuing on a project with a professor, 10 hours a week through August launching a program with a local kitchen ministry nonprofit, and I might also have another very short 2-3 day data analysis contract. Lastly, I’ve interviewed for a third part-time job that could be really key for my long-term mission because it’s directly involved in fighting human trafficking. I won’t jinx that by saying anything more specific, but I *think* the first interview went well so I’m hopeful to get the second.
That last gig would also continue long term which would be great for me personally, academically, and financially. I’d be serving the community in a tangible, real, direct way and thus end my isolation in the ivory tower – something that’s been very important to me because I did not leave Corporate America to simply write articles for academic journals that only a few people read. I’d be building important community, law enforcement and other professional connections, and also gain access to a ton of dissertation data – my research proposal matches one of their organizational data-use goals. And finally, my regular, year-round budget would get a needed, year-round increase. Given that the three-year scholarship I got on top of my assistantship goes away for the fourth year, I’ve been worried about making up the shortfall.
So anyway, praying and crossing fingers, toes and everything else that it comes through! Meanwhile, I’m catching up work for gig #1 and starting gig #2 this week. Also taking time this week to plan my academic work for the summer – if I get all three jobs I’ll be working 36 hours a week, and also need to read/study for both my comps and start on my dissertation proposal. Plus, prep 3-4 articles to submit for publication (still gotta jump those hurdles). And I’m visiting my mother, sister and nieces for a week at the end of this month before it all gets going, which I’m happy about.
Busy summer, much? Ha ha! I never entirely stick to my overly-aggressive schedules, but I want to at least start with a reading calendar that seems realistic and also allows some time for R&R.
I was very blessed to get back to church this morning – it’s been a few weeks and I have really missed it. I feel so off-center when I’m not in Mass regularly. But now, I’m gonna spend the rest of this afternoon goofing off. #NoGuilt
Om Mani Padme Hum.