When you apply to grad school you’re not thinking about the time you’ll sit in class praying your eyelids have the strength to stay open. You’re not even thinking about the dinners you’ll miss with your family or loved ones because you’ll be too busy conceptualizing how to change the world. I’m positive you’re not thinking about the gas, the traffic, or the road rage you’ll develop all because you’re trying to do what you didn’t do in your undergrad career which is get to class on time. No, when you seal that envelope with your transcript and personal essay in it you’re not thinking about any of that you’re simply thinking, “I hope I get in”.
There are definitely some moments in the journey of grad school that make you question your sanity but, in the end you may realize, like I have, that being insane is partly what makes you different from everyone else. You are crazy for whatever you believe in and that’s better than being sane and safe.
Last night, I flew to class early (not literally, I’m no Harry Potter people) because I had a meeting with my professor. We met to discuss my vision for my final project in her class, which is 15-20 pages of mixed genre writing. It can consist of anything in any form which is liberating but, even for someone like me who prefers to live without boundaries, I felt like I needed some insight and possibly direction. To my surprise, my professor loved my idea. I’m excited that she gave me a few new ways to approach the subject and I’m ready to put pen to paper and map this thing out! After our meeting I wandered through the castle unsure if I wanted to hit the pub to get a snack aka dinner aka low cal tea and chobani or sit somewhere to read. Just when I hit the bottom of the stairs I was greeted by a young girl who told me I needed to go sit down and watch the video playing in one of the east wings. (Yes, this castle has legit “East” and “West” wings! Reminds you of Beauty and the Beast right? Right.) I asked her what the film was about and she told me it was about the African rebel Joseph Kony and the organization Invisible Children who is created a GLOBAL campaign to stop Joseph Kony from the genocide he’s committed for the past 20 to 30 years. I had heard about the program a few months back and enthusiastically purchased a t-shirt in hopes that my money and fashion sense could help show people how important the cause was. I followed the girl into the east wing and sat down to watch parts of the film. I sat there enraged at Kony, inspired by the workers at Invisible Children, and thankful that for whatever reason God had for placing me in this life so that I can become a peacemaker. I left the film session to go to the pub because I was feeling hungrier than I wanted to be but, as I walked out of the castle I saw a sign urging students to register to vote. That’s when it hit me. I do, absolutely and for sure, LOVE grad school. The journey has been so much more than I ever could have imagined. Sure, it’s stressful and frustrating sometimes but in the end I love grad school because I’m a thinker and a dreamer. I believe in the grassroot movements that have and can continue to change the world. I believe that a “register to vote” poster can encourage someone to speak their voice in the polls. I believe that being educated can enlighten you and equip you to become an active participant in your community.
I didn’t think I’d’ be sacrificing as much as I have to get this degree (that will be IN MY HAND on May 16th) but I also didn’t think I’d be gaining as much either. If you’re in grad school, find the good and positive in the journey. Yes, it’s a bumpy road but, there is real beauty along the edges.