This is the final week before fall semester kicks off. Four days left and just taking them in stride. But, hi! How have you been?
Yesterday, I wondered where three weeks had gone. After minutes of mulling over this entire summer, I realized that it disappeared in the facets of work. I have worked from the beginning of summer to the end. Not a paid job, just a busy job. One to keep me busy and away from the pantry at home. The first three weeks following the end of spring semester, I was sorting and labeling old files in my mom's office. This was part one of summer vacation. Next, I spent two months in four college classes. My final summer as an undergraduate. Exhilarating, exhausting. Finally, part two of summer vacation arrived. And, it was more work for my ongoing research project. I have learned the ropes of Excel in this final week (Better late than never?) and used it to my advantage. However, I wish that I had done more earlier to free up these weeks to come. This will be, by far, the biggest semester I have ever had. Maybe biggest is not the word. Maybe decisive is better. Or significant. This semester decides everything, for better or worse. That is its significance.
I am writing a statement of purpose, finishing a research paper, submitting abstracts for conferences, potentially attending a conference to present research, potentially submitting the research paper to political science journals, taking the GRE (once, maybe twice), completing applications to grad schools, studying for the GRE, and of course, taking classes. It is a lot. I am terrified, nervous, cautious, intimidated. An assortment of things. In some ways, I feel defeated before the semester has even begun. It is frightening to think that this semester decides my future. My future alone. I envision my life a certain way. I envision it to be a perfectly warm and cozy life, a nice city, a carefree (audacious!) me, an upbeat environment, complete with countless activities, filled with connections to new and old contacts. However, what if something goes haywire? I seemingly plan everything in life, and I worry that I will be forced to take a detour to another path or to travel in a new direction entirely. In other words, my vision for the future suddenly becomes harder to reach.
Yet, I have decided that now is not the time to listen to my fears. Handle one thing at a time. Fear what is to be feared when it demands immediate action, not days, weeks, or years before it. With my long, stressful to-do list, I have decided not to dwell on my doubts and concerns. My mentality will be to focus on my vision for the future. Fail. Succeed. Fall down. Switch gears. However, don't dare forget where you want to be. Second-person grammar alert!
This week, I did something surprising. I have not listened to music all week. It has been podcast after podcast around this place. I love podcasts, but they are often a pain to capture my attention. But, I did a few internet searches and found a few that I liked and lost 4GB to podcasts. Currently upset about that, but it is a productive way to learn. This weekend, I intend to take a few deep-breathers, meditate, organize, collect myself...mentally prepare for the decisive semester I will engage. It will be a challenge, but I suspect that it will be worth it. A challenge forces us to think differently and strategically. This semester, I expect I will have to make a few compromises and press harder, but the things we want in life require work. The work, the challenge, the adventure will be worth it. I know it. Even if nothing ultimately comes of my effort, when all is revealed in the future, I will have gained something. I know it.
This weekend, I am having lunch with an old friend I have not seen in three years. Wish me luck, I am kind of nervous. I am sort of curious what you talk about after not seeing someone in three years. By the time we graduated, we were no longer as close as we once were when we were younger. High school really does change everything. What are your weekend plans? Have a lovely one!