Friday, February 8, 2013

i want only this/i want to live, i want to live a simple life.

(This is a story of recent events that, when all written-out, was way too long for one blog post.
Enjoy part one...)

"The goal is to know God,
not to know more..."
-richard rohr

Once upon a time there was a girl.
In college she majored in coffee dates.

Not really, she majored in psychology. But she spent significantly more time on coffee dates than studying, which is relevant to the rest of this story.

The girl loved lots of things. Like knitting, and hugging, and going for walks. She loved runs on the prairie path and speaking Spanish and eating out with friends. She loved snail-mail, and journaling, and books by Henri Nouwen, and inviting people over for game nights. She loved days with nowhere to be and lots of people to talk to.

So naturally, she did exactly what you'd expect from someone whose entire worldview screams COZY AND RELATIONAL...

She decided to move across the country and enter a freakin' doctoral program.

Surprise! The girl is me. You totally didn't see that coming, did you?

I love a lot of things about grad school. But there are also a lot of things I don't love about it. I tried to write to explain those things three separate times and it kept coming out in a long stream of stressed out consciousness... but basically, to summarize:

The world of academia is intense. And whether you think it's a good world or a bad world, it is not a world for which I am a natural fit.

Graduate school has its difficulties which can be expected: long hours, steep learning curves, needing to stretch oneself in mind and abilities.

But the unique stresses of competition and professionalism, the unkindness that can come with people running on little sleep and fear of failure, and the arrogance that can be bred among a "community" of academics... has not been like anything I've experienced before.

And I've spent a lot of time wondering if I'm in the right place and pursuing the right career.

Last semester contained more stress than I've been under in recent memory. There were tears, and sleeplessness, and a lot of doubts running through my head and heart. Christmas break held a lot of hard prayers, hard conversations with people who know and love me well, and hard questions to ask myself.

Do I want to be here? Is this degree worth this pace and quality of life? Am I going to like myself when I'm done here?!

( be continued...)

(emily freaks out about grad school, parts two and three)

1 comment:

cori haughery said...

yes. graduate school is a stressful and intense endeavor! i admire any one who survives it! john (my husband) is a natural fit for that world, and it is still a huge struggle for him at times. i, however, would not be a natural fit by any i can only imagine what it would be like!! im sure you are doing a great job. and your reliance on the Lord is so apparent. he will help you through the ups and downs of this crazy grad school life!

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.