Juggling Chainsaws

Do you ever have such a wonderful weekend that–though you totally intend to update your blog–you spend most of it baking cookies, watching Shakespeare, and drinking sangria with your friends (followed by napping!) and totally forget? Just me? Oh, whoops.

This weekend was wonderful, because that is pretty much all that I did for it. (I took a break to read 200 pages of class things, which involved learning more disgusting facts about monkey sexual behavior, ie the most lasting educational legacy of my time at college, fun fact.) And you guys, it was necessary for me to continue to get out of bed.

That’s because last week I simultaneously started my first week of my last semester of college and my fancy new 40-hour-a-week, yes-we-have-a-401k-and-snacks job. Which is great! Employment is wonderful! My coworkers are a delight! The snacks are great! I am taking a class with someone famous enough to have a Wikipedia page!

And I am so! Very! Tired!

That + my weakling college vegetarian immune system meant that I spent most of last week sort-of-kind-of sick. You know, when you feel like you can’t legitimately take medication without Raising Eyebrows, but you would still prefer to stay in bed? Super fun!

And you guys, I am kind of freaked out by the semester ahead. Continue reading

On Existential Itching

Today I am going to talk about something that isn’t street festivals. (And lo, the small-but-dedicated blog audience cheered.) Instead of fried foods sold from tents, I want to talk about motivation–specifically, the complete lack of it that I have had since moving off campus.

I used to be the queen of Getting Shit Done (it’s like GTD with yelling). I was that weirdo that scheduled her homework six weeks in advance and then sat down and did it. I never pulled an all-nighter, and I was always in bed by midnight. My to-do list system detailed in that blog post worked very well for me.

Then senior year happened, and I just… stopped wanting to do what was on the list. I stopped wanting to check my email because doing so gave me a list of terrifying new things that I’d have to incorporate into my schedule. When my laptop charger died and my computer wasn’t terribly useable, I used this as an excuse to simply not look at online readings for a few weekends.

I’ve become a walking example of the creeping sense of dread that motivates people to be so on their Inbox Zero game. (For those who haven’t seen the original talk–which I highly recommend–Merlin Mann argues that allowing email to accumulate leads to this horrible dread where folks eventually shut down and quit processing anything, which is… not helpful.)

I’m pretty sure this is all due to the twin facts that I am currently living in a lovely, quiet, off-campus apartment and that I am underloading on classes.

Because here’s the thing: dorms suck in many different ways. (For example, shower vomit.) But as much as dorm life sucks, there is a great sense of camaraderie underlying it. Everyone is there for the same purpose, and being around peers who are constantly studying makes it very easy to do the same. That’s why you’re in the dorms, by their very nature, unless you’re someone’s off-campus boyfriend who’s living there for free and everyone hates you.

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Car Cake

Yesterday morning, I sat in my car and ate cheesecake.

I mean, I wasn’t alone. So there’s that. And no one at Emory shops at my grocery store, so it’s unlikely that anyone saw me. But outside of Your Dekalb Farmers Market, my friend and I ate (delicious) red velvet cheesecake and had a complete freakout. Because it’s senior year of undergrad, and that’s both terrifying and underwhelming. And that is a weird combination of feelings. So we drowned them in cake.

It’s terrifying because I only have nine-ish months (simultaneously a very long and very short period of time) to figure out what I’m going to be doing after undergrad. And I have had it beaten in to me by scare pieces about millennials that there are no jobs. And it would be one thing if–like some of my friends–I knew what I was doing when I finished school. But I don’t.

And at the same time, it feels totally insane to think about the end of school now, as it is a reasonable amount of time away and things could change dramatically in 9 months. I could physically create another small human out of my cells in that period of time! (I don’t plan to.) I could accomplish a lot in that span of time, but it still does not feel very long because it is all one unit–the school year–in my head.

I have a few friends who are engaged or on their way to being engaged (or are otherwise in fairly stable relationships that will probably last post-graduation). I am not, which is fine. The same is true of the friend that I was eating the cheesecake with. But there is something that makes both of us pretty jealous of those of our friends who have some sort of life plan in place at this point.

Anything past graduation is a gigantic black hole, and that is incredibly frustrating. I’m the girl who plans her homework six weeks in advance! My main destresser is writing things down, in bulleted lists, and then doing what is on the lists. Not being able to do that for most of the next nine months is going to drive me insane. I don’t want a wedding, but stability of some kind would be nice.

The underwhelming part of this whole thing is the feeling that I am limping towards my finish at Emory without anything concrete to be moving towards. I am excited to be back, and to be academically engaged, and to learn and write a thesis. But (and perhaps this is true for everyone entering senior year) I feel less and less tied to the college. I’m simply continuing to do the things from the summer with the addition of classes, rather than starting a concrete new phase for the year.

One way or the other, I need the weird holding pattern of this summer to hurry up and finish. I start classes and two of my jobs this week. If I stay busy enough, there will be no more car cake. I hope.

And with that, I am off to my first class of the year.

Freshman Freakout

Freshmen move in was this weekend, which leads me to the horrifying suspicion that my senior year of school is really, truly starting soon. I feel more unprepared than I have felt for anything that I can remember.

This year, I worked as a tech for the incoming frosh–I helped them troubleshoot troublesome mobile devices, connect to the wifi, and set up their email. Since my normal job consists mostly of windexing tables in a room that has computers, I was mostly there to deal with the easy cases and charm moms while the professionals fixed the most difficult machines. This all would have been great (paid!) fun, had it not been for the fact that I had to be at school at 7 am on Saturday morning.

Let me tell you about the last time I was at school at 7 am on a Saturday:

Oh wait, I can’t. Because it has never happened. I got up at 5:30, and it was still the same color as it had been when I went to bed four hours before. It was the sort of thing where my body wasn’t even tired–just disoriented.

So, of the four hats I have worn for freshman move-in (freshman, RA, transfer student, and tech), this was certainly the earliest. To my employer’s credit, everyone felt so bad about the hours that they gave us a great breakfast buffet to choose from. And at least I wasn’t a manager–they had to be there at 6:30.

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