last few unworried hours

there are great things about being a student. free bus rides, cheap movies, chill schedule, beautiful campus and the freedom to sit outside with the sun on your face reading a book, all afternoon if you want to. in particular, there are great things about being a grad student. classes are never full for grad students, waitlists are a thing of the past, a thing solely in the domain of the unwashed undergraduate masses. we have ascended to the rarefied heights of guaranteed enrollment. we call the professors by their first names, and sometimes the school or the government gives us money. that's right, we get paid to be in school. we have the freedom and the resources to immerse ourselves in the quest for theoretical glory, or something nobler. people say "i could never go back to school" and i think they are insane.

the flip side is endless endless work. the reading pile gets bigger as you try to eat your way through, there's always a paper to revise. this much i already know. and that money that they give us? very rarely just falls out of windows, usually we scratch and scrape for it, there's always a fellowship to apply for. then there are the myriad ways we prove our engagement in (to?) the department: "it is highly encouraged that all grad students attend the colloquium talks," committee work, socializing as junior colleagues with more advanced students and faculty. from day one we think about master's exam committees, research advisors, dissertation topics, and how in the hell we're going to get that first paper published. we think about the small fraction of social science ph.d's that get the coveted research/teaching job directly out of school, and the even smaller fraction that pass their first tenure review. we eye our cohort warily. we must be cagey. we must be absolutely excellent.

it's only worth it under one condition: you love your field completely.
lucky me, i do.

i am {scared thrilled jittery smirking blown away steeling myself amused proud resigned nervous} because tomorrow my new career begins. (pick as many of those adjectives as you like.)


avanti! forward!
with open eyes and perfect calm, forward into the madness.