I can't believe that March is almost over (and it's still below fifty degrees out! What the heck!?). There's only a few weeks of class left, and I feel like (especially in my Marketing class) I'm so far behind. I know there are things I've missed in that class, and for the first time since I started the program I'm honestly worried about a grade in a class.
I really hate taking courses online. I know I've said that before.
Burnout is setting in, big time. I've found graduate school to be the opposite of undergrad. In undergrad, the required courses are the real grind. The stupid crap like your required math, history, and science courses. Then you get into the electives and major-focused classes, and that's where the really good stuff is. In grad school the required courses are the core courses for your professional skils. That's the really interesting stuff--the stuff you came to learn. Then, when you get into the electives you find that the pickin's are somewhat slim. Seems every time I've chosen a course that looked interesting, it's turned out to be painful. However, I've thus far managed to maintain a pretty darned good GPA (All in the A range with one exception and that was a B+), and I just hope I continue to do so through this semester.
I'm done with classes (assuming I pass all my remaining ones) in July, with graduation in August. I got the "remember to apply for graduation" e-mail this morning; that was a nice feeling. I can do this. I will do this. I have to. I've put too much into it to fall apart, now. I just hope I can get a job when all is said and done. I've put in for quite a few librarian jobs, but I can't even get anyone to call me back--not even for a phone interview. I don't get it. I've had professionals look over my resume and across the board they tell me it's really impressive and full of transferable skills. So why won't anyone call me back? Everyone says you need to have applications out before you finish school, but the ones I've put out just don't seem to be generating any interest, and I'm at a complete loss as to why.
I honestly don't know what I'm going to do if I can't find something. I can't stay here forever. It's not that I have a real problem, but it's very much NOT what I want to do with my life, and every day is getting harder and harder. I dislike having to worry about my job all the time, even when I'm not here. Note I didn't say, "think," about my job. I said, "worry." Every Monday, every time I take a day off, every time I go to lunch I come back terrified about what has blown up while I was away that I'm going to have to fix. I can be gone for an hour and come back to 25 or more e-mails that all amount to "What am I going to do!!??"
I'm getting too old for this crap; by thirty-six most people expect you to have it all figured out, and I've done nothing successfully in my life. Of course, to be successful you need to catch a break once in awhile and I don't seem to get those. It doesn't help that people don't let you grow up; more than a few people have made unjustified accusations about my work ethic and desire to be lazy or goof off based on the way I was when I was eighteen to twenty-three years old. I'm not that guy anymore. I work hard for what I get and what I want, but I guess the intervening thirteen to eighteen years haven't made a difference in the minds of a lot of family and friends. To them I'm always going to be a lazy kid who just wants to slack off at the Beehive. Problem is, if a 5-year unbroken string of straight-A's in school (including 1.5 years in grad school before that pesky B+ hit) don't convince them my work ethic is changed, I don't know what will. Guess all I can do is let it roll off my back and accept that some folks won't let me change for the better, in their minds. They have this illusion that straight-A's should be easy for me because I'm "smart." Okay, I'm fairly intelligent, yeah. But I'm not a genius. And graduate school is not a cakewalk; I don't care who you are. I know people who love to claim they're not as smart as me, who I personally think are brilliant.
Blah. I'm whining, I know. So I'm not bliss-filled about my day job. Who is, right? Suck it up and get through it till I find something more satisfying. And I guess the real trick with worrying about the job when I'm not here is simply to stop doing that. Easier said than done, but it would seem to be what I need to learn to do. Maybe I need to figure out a way to focus on what I have, instead of what I want. I'd just hate to have this whole experience have been a waste. I also try very hard (harder every day, it seems) to not be bitter and resentful of the fact that I'm trapped in this dead city with no option to leave. I could have so many options elsewhere, but I'm stuck in Pittsburgh.
In any case, I'm looking forward to reduced stress levels come July, and the ability (hopefully) to focus on some writing again, when I am not trying to find a real job and career. My stress levels are way, way too high right now and I'm really prone to just snapping on people. I very nearly snapped out on my whole family this weekend when they accused me (as they love to do) of enjoying arguing with people. I'm not sure they even realize how ludicrous this claim is--who actively ENJOYS getting pissed off and frustrated? And then when I told them that it really pisses me off when they make that accusation, they continued pushing until they managed to goad me into arguing, and then pointed out that I was once again arguing. I guess in their minds I should just always say, "Ok, you're right" whenever someone makes a false accusation against me, and never defend myself. Because when I feel attacked and defend myself, that constitutes enjoyment of conflict.
In any case, the point is, while they were digging at me (which I sincerely believe they all do just because they can--they get off on upsetting me; I've even had people tell me it's fun because they think it's easy, which is twisted and sick, in my opinion) I very nearly blew my lid and stormed out. I was able to keep my cool (to a point, anyway) and just say "whatever," but it was far more difficult to do than it should've been. I'm noticing a lot of gray in my beard and at my temples lately. Part of that is genetic (my Dad was full-on salt and pepper when he was my age) but a much bigger part is pure stress. It's too much at this point, and I know it's making me difficult to live with. God bless my wife, who is a saint for putting up with me when her job isn't all roses right now, either. I think the two of us could really use a month to just hop in the car and drive aimlessly, to get away from everything and everyone...but then, who couldn't use that?
So there you have it. Life is life. Hope this hasn't been too much of a downer. I guess when it comes down to brass tacks, the end is in sight--at least, where school is concerned. Then I can focus on the other stuff that needs to be fixed. And that's how it's going to have to be.