There are a lot of things I learned during my first year of grad school.
1. Teaching is HARD.
1b. I have the BEST guy. There is no doubt in my mind that we can make it through anything if we can make it through a) cancer and b) grad school. When you have to work and coordinate and communicate and juggle money and figure out how to spend time together and see each other (even though you live together, ha) and who’s going to walk the dog and take out the trash…it’s work. But the benefits are really worth it.
(plus he cooks for me and takes care of me and makes me things like this for dessert.)
(Strawberries & cream will be making many appearances this summer).
2. Work/life balance is b*#@t. I think the concept of work/life balance is sort of crap. Sometimes there’s no way to balance everything. The way that society/the media/other people make it seem like “you can really have it all!!!!!” is, in my opinion, a dangerous myth. Sometimes, you cannot have it all. You cannot have straight A’s, get a million things done at work, have a clean house, spend quality time with your family and friends, have a great work out and eat a well balanced meal. Every single day. The idea that we can and should be able to do this, especially as women, is (Although if you can do this, please tutor me in your ways of magic) insane – yet I totally subscribe to it. Am I the only one?!
I found myself really struggling with letting some of that stuff go this semester. I dropped a workout routine. I barely saw my friends and family – and when I was with them, I was stressing about the amount of work I wasn’t doing. Tumbleweeds of dog hair accumulated at break neck speed. I stressed about all of it. And I got my first B (oh, the horrors, right?!). What I failed to remember is that I was juggling 4 classes, working, commuting, beginning to plan a wedding, trying to have a regular life – and going through treatment for cancer. Riiiight.
So was the insane stress worth it? No – and yes. Having this week off from class has made me realize what a treat it is to read a book. To spend an hour having tea with friends. To sit on my couch and not do a damn thing. How intense the pressure is, consciously and otherwise, that I put on myself to achieve. How sometimes just doing my best that day, and not expecting perfection, will make me healthier and happier. And how I really need to incorporate some of the fun, relaxing things back into my life during the term.
Would I call it balance? I don’t know. But I would definitely call it pushing the see-saw back towards the middle.
My role model in this area – Sadie. She has excellent work/life – and couch – balance.
I am SO EXCITED there are people out there who want to do this thing with me!
So far, my challenge has been going really well. I’m 3/3 in terms of NO Dunkin Iced mochas! It was touch and go for a hot minute Tuesday morning when it was pouring and I was exhausted. I thought about caving in to get one and remembered that I challenged myself this week and I’m going to stick to it!
The challenge also helped me when I started to overwhelm myself with other things I “should” be doing. It helped me to think “Okay, I’m doing one thing this week. I can do something else next week” and not overwhelm myself with too many things to work on. Yay for progress!
Laura, Hillary, Hil, Erin K., Stina – how you gals doing?!
How are you with work/life balance? Do you believe in my conspiracy theory or have you managed to make it work for yourself?!