The Grad School Games

Next week is my last week of classes. Like ever. I have spent the last 18 years of my life going to class, and it is all about to end. What's weird is that I haven't even really been thinking about this. It kind of hit me anew this week. I haven't gotten to slow down in anticipation of the finish line. I've been in high gear, and now I feel as though I'm neck and neck with anything and everything that could prevent me from getting my final research proposal approved and turned in for next semester.

My schooling has been pretty rigorous overall, so I guess it's fitting for my final week of classes to be a complete doozy. All of my mental and emotional energy at this point is being devoted to preparing for the committee meeting for my project proposal. I will dress up. I will bring baked goods for the faculty members. I will explain my research plans. And I will pray that I find favor with them or that they have mercy upon me or, you know, maybe just that I don't break down and cry in the conference room.

That meeting is Monday, and the final proposal is due Thursday, which gives me approximately two and a half days to make any necessary revisions. Though I wish I could devote those days solely to making revisions, I will have to split them among final projects — and the accompanying writing, meeting, data collection, and presentation prep — for three other classes.

Talk about going out with a bang.

I've got Haymitch's advice from the Hunger Games repeating in my head: Stay alive.

If I can just stay alive for the next seven days... If I can just stay alive...

I finished typing all of this and then heard the little beep that tells me when a new email is in my inbox. This one was from my committee chair. "I think this meeting will go very well," she wrote. "See you Monday!"

I remember when getting a committee was what I was worried about. And I remember when finding a place to do the professional portion of my project was what I was worried about. I remember when picking a research topic was what I was worried about. I remember when writing my lit review was what I was worried about. And all of that has worked out so much better than I hoped it would. I need to stop worrying so much.