It is a strange feeling, having two homes.
My fourth year of graduate school begins on Thursday, and so I drove back to my apartment today, after spending six weeks at my parents’ house. Initially, I worried about going home to stay with my parents. I wasn’t sure if their presence would chafe, especially after being on my own for the past 3 years. However, the opposite occurred: I have realized that my parents are actually really awesome people, and I love being home with them. Leaving was incredibly difficult, and it was with a heavy heart that I drove back to school this afternoon.
There’s an odd amount of emotional work that has to be done in order to prepare for the transition: saying goodbye to my friends and family in my hometown, letting go of the coziness of my childhood bedroom, and detaching myself from the family cat. There’s also the work of adjusting to a change in roles, from daughter and sister to student and teacher, not to mention the shift in geographic location (northern to southern California; big city to small-ish town; my childhood home to my teeny but cozy studio apartment).
I spent the first couple of hours on the drive down here lamenting the end of my summer and dreading the looming specter of coursework and teaching, but once I reached my apartment, I felt the familiar longings for my school-life: the rhythm of seminars and lectures, the excitement of grad student gatherings and parties, the tranquility of my home, the beauty of the beaches.
There’s a lot for me to ponder as we reach the end of round 3 of ROW80, especially since it also marks the very end of my summer vacation. So much has happened over the past 80 days, and it will be an adventure to see how I will integrate this “writing-self” that has emerged with the “student-self” that I will become once classes begin.
And so here I am, about to begin my 4th year of grad school. This is the year when I need to complete my MA thesis, finish my last few classes, write and defend my PhD dissertation proposal, and advance to candidacy. If all goes well, this will be my last year in Santa Barbara, and I’ll be able to move back in with my parents next August, so I can write my dissertation, rent-free, in San Francisco.
“Focus” will be my middle name in the months to come, especially if I am going to accomplish all of the above, and still tackle the creative writing that I love and adore. I’ve drafted a weekly schedule that allows me time in the evenings for writing and social media stuff, as well as blocks out a couple of hours each afternoon for my research and thesis writing. We’ll see if I can adhere to it, but if I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s that I work best when I’m satisfying my left brain and my right brain. I won’t be giving up on my novel(s) any time soon. 😀
That’s all from me at the moment! I may be a little MIA over the next week or two: my mom is in town with me, and we will be busy sight-seeing, shopping, and hanging out together. However, I’ll do my best to blog-hop about in the days to come, to check in with everyone in our last few days of Round 3.