One of the more difficult parts of my move to Boston has been transitioning back into the world of academia. Academia. Yikes. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I can say I’ve transitioned back into academia when I’m not sure I’ve ever truly been here before. Yes, yes, I went to college and took classes and, well, had fun and partied and made friends and figured out what I had to do to get by with good grades and a degree. I enjoyed some of my classes, most notably my ceramics class and advertising class and those classes with certain members of the male species. Forgive me.
Don’t worry, mom and dad, it really was worth every single penny.
But being in grad school is something else. First of all, I’m no longer 18. Gasp. Which means that I’ve had just enough time and life experience to develop actual opinions about what I want to learn and how I want to study and what I think makes a class interesting and productive. After all, I chose this program for very specific reasons. Reasons I remind myself of every single day.
Second of all, there is a significant lack of hand holding. Scratch that. There is no hand holding. Now, I realize I’m an adult, we’re adults, and should be able to figure everything out on our own. After all, we’re resourceful enough to have found and been accepted to a graduate program, right? And while I can appreciate this mindset and really do enjoy being challenged, I am finding that some help, direction, and a wee bit of teeny tiny hand holding would be beneficial. Academically speaking. Because there are no members of the male species in my classes.
Third of all, and lastly, for now, there are things called abstracts and policy briefs and literature reviews. “Lit review.” I know, I wondered, too. And when I asked my professor last night in class to give us some actual, tangible, doable, basic first steps to starting my lit review, she said she didn’t think any of her professors ever told her how to do it. She just figured it out.
So on days when I find myself longing to feel a little less overwhelmed and a little less lost I do what feels most comfortable and natural. I walk into my kitchen and get to cooking something. Something that’s comfy and cozy and that I just want to hold hands with. Like a fried egg sandwich. Covered in perfectly salty Manchego cheese and wilted baby greens and, well, mayo. Don’t judge.