Ramping Up

Thursday. It has been an interesting week. Not only am I ramping up physically to keep up with all the demands of learning and being involved, but I’m ramping up mentally. I’m starting to feel a little muscle memory from the last degree – tired moments of thought stolen from a dark tunnel between classes, a snack snagged on the run, endless hours spent in the library trying to concentrate on dialectic this, or ineluctable that. I had almost forgotten that university types have a language all their own. The ordinary “have a conversation and get the job done” from daily life is once again being ground out of me – yes, I’m getting back into the swing of things.

I got here early for a class today – very early – so I typed up my class notes from yesterday’s POLI lecture, and am writing this now to make sure my brain is engaged for the 8am lecture. It’s nice and quiet in here. Except for the footsteps – back and forth – coming, it seems to me, from places where there should be no footsteps.

I’m starting to remember the intensity I felt at the end of my last degree, and the reason I had such a big let down after that one was done. It really is a lot of work. One email yesterday tightened the knot a little – “Please read these three articles by Friday”. They total about 100 pages.

By Friday. This is where your life disappears, where all the other plans you’ve made to do what they told you to do – have a life outside of classes – goes to pot. How can you read half a book in two days, absorb it so you can discuss it, and still watch a ball game or write up a sports interview for the campus paper? How do you maintain any kind of life with these sudden assignments?

Well, it’s hard. And I am remembering that it was always meant to be. If getting a degree were easy everyone would do it. What’s the answer? Do the best you can.

Because I’m older than I used to be I’m having more difficulty adjusting my body clock to what I need to do here. But I’m not panicking – it’s only week one. It won’t be too long before I’ve forgotten all these momentary terrors. I’ll be just fine.

I’m getting used to the blank stares some of the kids are still giving me – the what the hell is he doing here? look. I’m learning to ignore it.

I’ve got a job to do.

J

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