The Paradox of Free Time

At this point you’re probably thinking, “free time? What is that?” At least, that’s what I thought when I was considering this post. For once, I have nothing on my plate, at least not school wise. It’s one of those rare, rare times when I am caught up for weeks in advance, and with nothing to get done in the next few weeks, I have a little time to breath. At least, you’d think that. You’d think I’d be able to relax.

But I can’t, and herein lies the problem. Even though I have no work to speak of for at least the next week or two, I can’t unwind. There are still things to be stressed about, like money, or my job, and even internship things. Holiday times are huge stress times, because they’re expensive. The weather is changing, getting colder, and that stresses me out because I hate the cold. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why everything piles up like this. The brief moment of “yay, no homework” turns into “Jeez, I’m still super stressed out.”

This is the life of a grad student. Constantly tired, always moving. I feel like I haven’t had time to “shut down” or “turn off” since the semester started. Heck, since I started at MSPP. And now that I’m closing in on my final semester, I’m finding that my stresses are turning from “I have to get through these to years,” to “How am I going to pay back all these loans?”

This post may come off like I’m just complaining, but I think it encompasses the negative days of a student pretty well. As much as I love the school, love my education, and am excited about my future post-graduation, it doesn’t stop these days when I am purely overwhelmed, exhausted, and worn thin. Maybe you’re saying, “but Ashley! You don’t have any homework!” And that’s precisely the point! I have the time to think about everything stressful.

Then I think, only six more months. April 30th, the last day of classes for me. June 2nd, the day I graduate. That month of May will be a blissful celebration, where I pick up more shifts at work and finish up my internship. Still busy, but a limbo period where I can see that light at the end of the long, long tunnel. It will be glorious.

I hope that those of you reading are relating in some way. I don’t think anyone goes through grad school (or even undergrad!) without feeling this time and time again (usually around mid-to-late semester). My message is: you’re not alone. We all feel it, and we survive!

And now I will leave you all with this slightly amusing, but also annoying, internship story: Today one of my kids came up to me and said, “Ashley, I just wanted to be honest with you about something, and tell you first before anyone else did. I tried to break into your car today to hide in it, but I realized it was locked. So I got a key and tried to open the door, but I got yelled at, so I stopped.”

Goodnight, everyone.

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