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22 February 2013 @ 11:07 am
I am a Genius  
I forgot to sign up for the field trip for my Geology Lab yesterday, which means I have to sneak in just as today's first lab is starting and fit my name in on Saturday, otherwise it's not happening.

I suppose it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to go on Sunday, but I am the worlds biggest procrastinator, and I feel like if I have that Sunday to work with I'll be 100% sure I get everything done. And this field trip is taking place the weekend before the last week of school so anything I'm doing will be super-important.


In prepping for signing up for classes next week, I figured out that I only have two more semesters to go (that is, if I take five classes in one and four in the other) before I graduate. Which is both comforting and terrifying.

Comforting, because it's nice to know that I can actually accomplish something. I'll have that diploma, and I'll be able to look at it and say, "I did that."

Terrifying, because I have no idea what I'm going to do. I always envisioned this point in my life as something in the far-off future, something which, in the depths of my worst depression, I actually felt like I would never reach.

Having too many options, and at the same time feeling like you have no options, is incredibly great for my anxiety. Let me tell you.

So, here's the list so far. I could ...

  1. Go to grad school. This is it's own minefield in and of itself, because first and foremost I would have to actually get in to
    a grad school. I very much dislike the idea of staying here for grad school (what sort of good academic prospects am I going to get from a bachelors / masters combination from UWO?), but coupled with my absolute terror of striking out on my own, I feel conflicted. Do I have to take the GRE? How well do you have to do on the GRE? What if I get tired of academia? You can't just quit after making a huge commitment like that. What will I do when I graduate? Teaching at a university is highly competitive, and I don't even know if I'd be good at that.

  2. Get a degree-related job. Which raises the question ... where? What am I supposed to do with this degree? I've got a leg up in the technical writing field with my CS minor, but I don't have any idea how you start that. There are companies I'd like to work for - pipe dream companies, like the Office of Letters and Light or HER Interactive - but I don't have any work experience. Or, at least, I have very little and it isn't specialized.

  3. Get whatever job I can to pay back my loans and just ... think. Or wait. This would take care of the immediate concerns of my loans, but it's honestly just prolonging the inevitable.

I've got to make an appointment with Career Services to talk about this with someone, because I literally have no idea where to go from here.

I make this joke probably more than is healthy, but I don't care. I am Blaine Anderson - I want to make art and help people. I just have NO FUCKING IDEA how to go about doing that.

Elle: Hannaelleavantemm on February 24th, 2013 03:40 am (UTC)
Being a sociology student is both good and bad because you learn a lot of really disappointing things about the world. I think if you want to make art and help people - which is a very noble pursuit - I think grad school is a good option, although I understand that it is TERRIFYING (same boat, friend). Basically at this point in our social evolution, your university undergraduate degree is comparable to your high school GED - it is the thing that separates you from the people who only have their GED.

I know your anxiety and depression makes the idea of leaving the comfort of home a hard thing to consider. I don't really have much to suggest there because that has more to do with you than anything else. As far as grad school goes, though, I've been told by professors that you want to look for schools that have the program you want with teachers who you'd want to work with. In a lot of cases that means going elsewhere.

Definitely go and talk to an advisor to verify your credits and ask questions. Don't overload yourself with classes though (5 is a lot even for the very best student). I believe that you're more than capable, but I don't want to see you end up in the limbo of academic probation again.

Take it a step at a time. Work towards finishing your degree, think about grad school, and talk to your professors and advisers about what options are out there and use that network to create a web - however tenuous - to figure out where you want to go. I'm finish my degree this year and I have no idea what I want to do. Basically I'm going to get a job, start life after my undergrad and figure out the rest as I go.

I tell people this all the time though: any decision you make is the right decision because you made it.
ashemikuashemiku on February 25th, 2013 04:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this. I think that last sentiment is something I want to put on my wall as a constant reminder - like "Your best is good enough" and "Don't compare yourself to other people; no two journeys are the same" - because that's something I struggle with. I'm a huge second guesser, and an even bigger "what-if"-er. Which is not behavior conducive to making mature decisions with confidence.

I've been trying to psyche myself up for the last two weeks to go in and talk to my Rhetoric professor about grad school. It has been so easy to just say, "It's Friday, and I'm exhausted. I have time to do it later." Which ... eventually "later" will turn into "over," so I need to stop putting it off. Its a ridiculous fear, because she's probably the coolest professor ever, and it's not like she's going to make fun of me for being interested in her field. And yet. Anxiety.

I think on the leaving home front I need to start seeing a therapist. That's another thing I've been putting off, too; less because of fear and more because I'm a little afraid of facing myself? If that makes any sense.

I was telling my mom I was trying to decide between Fiction I and Autobiography for my creative writing credit, and she asked, "Why Autobiography?" and I said, "Because I have a very hard time understanding why I do the things I do and who that makes me as a person." It was the one writing assignment I didn't do well on in my Intro English class, for which the professor cited my tendency to "get close to analysis and then shy away," which -- yeah, completely accurate.

Part of the terror of Grad School recently came from a story Eric was telling me last week over lunch, where a friend of his is in her last year and just SO FUCKING SICK of school OH GOD SHE JUST WANTS TO QUIT, and ... I do worry about that happening to me. But I also have a hard time understanding who I am outside of academia - learning and research and writing papers all make sense to me, those are things that, abstractly, I can handle. It's more the getting there and staying there. Going somewhere else for school means I have to start over completely on my own, which is scary in its own way.
Elle: Spencer/Tobyelleavantemm on February 26th, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
Honestly, Ashley, I do not have half the anxiety you do, and I am fucking terrified of visiting my professors in their office. My words jumble and my face gets warm and I feel like a child and it sucks. Even though my marks and my participation demonstrates that I'm pretty smart, I feel like a total moron trying to talk to profs. So I feel you in that regard.

Addressing your personal issues and facing yourself I think is something that could be really ground breaking. I would probably benefit from talking to a professional about my friendship issues. The nice thing about that and also have some time until you finish school is that you get to think about the future a bit.

As for grad school, because it can be really difficult to get into and it is crazy expensive, you have time to work and save and do whatever and really decide if grad school is what you want to do. But I get it, I do. I have 2 months before I am absolutely finished my undergrad and I just want to give up. I am tired of not having the opportunity to choose what I read and to not have to write papers and blah.

It can be scary, but it could be good.