Grad school is a funny animal. You have to want to be there to even apply. And yet, somehow, something you've worked so hard for sort of becomes your mortal enemy. For me anyway. I wake up and think about it. I can't relax. It fills my life. And I begin to wonder: was this really a good idea at all. Then I remind myself how badly I wanted this thing that is controlling my life. And I recall all the friends I have made, the lessons I've learned, the ways I've grown. With one semester left, I can unflinchingly say it's worth it. Every second of it. Well, maybe almost every second. Regardless, I am glad, despite all the difficulty, I am in grad school.
I wonder sometimes if grad school compares to children. Not that I expect my children to be my mortal enemies. Although, after speaking with some of my friends, I am sure there are days. What I mean is, there are some similar statements. You work hard. You focus on making that part of your life (becoming a parent) a reality, you pray for it, you dwell on it, you tell all your friends how badly you want it to shape your life. Then, miraculously, you become a parent. Suddenly, it is all-consuming. You think about your babe before you make any plans. You lose sleep because of her. Your free time completely diminishes because of him. And I wonder if you begin to wonder: is it worth it? Did I really want this after all? I think all parents have to have those moments. But, like grad school, I hope the answer is unflinchingly yes.
I have babies and children on the brain lately. Not because of personal circumstance, but because of all of my friends who have recently made that giant life change. And I am so happy for them. In turn, Hubs and I are contemplating our own family timeline. We love children. All children, really. Even the screaming ones we watch on Sunday mornings. This love creates contemplation: do we want these small humans? Do we want them now? Can we actually do this thing called parenting? And we dream. Of days when adorably tiny-tom clad toddlers run around our house, memorizing scripture and singing adorable tunes of joy. Yes, we are living in a dream world. I sort of think you have to if you really want to have kids. The reality of lost sleep and screaming tantrums and dirty clothes/diapers/houses don't woo anyone to parenthood. Much like paper deadlines and unhelpful group project partners don't woo anyone to grad school. You take the good with the bad. And those tiny little faces sure are good.
It's fun to watch my friends as parents and dream of the days we too will shoulder that responsibility. Until then, grad school is tough enough. And I'll keep my disillusioned dreams of cherub-faced children.
Here's to a break from the madness.