I’ve been such a downer the last few days; which has been a little scary for me. It’s spring break, which for me means that my first 8 week course rotation of the semester just ended, and I get ten days off before the next rotation starts.
There’s a pattern to my wallowing. Generally I spend two or three days where I don’t get out of my sweat pants, don’t shower, and don’t leave the apartment. Everyone on my Friends list gets a healthy dose of stalking. Usually after about 72 hours of this, I feel recovered enough to put on some deodorant and wash my hair. Then a day later, I’m in Mom/Wife mode, doing everything I can to get us all caught up from the last 8 weeks and prepared for the next 8 weeks. Related: there is a casserole type looking thing in the back of my fridge that I seriously could have turned in as my final project in my Science Methods course.
This time its been a little harder to get in the spirit of things. I think this is partially because my last rotation was very difficult. I took 15 credit hours– including a Biology Lab with a professor who can only be described in polite circles as ‘eccentric’– and an 80 hour practicum in an elementary school. It was also my ‘Math and Science’ rotation, which is not my strong suit. I was up until about midnight every night, and up around 530 every morning. At least Maren has started sleeping through the night, so those five hours a night have been actual sleep, but towards the end of it all, I was definitely running on empty.
But I think the main reason I’m so sad about this spring break is because of the rotation I’m headed into. Sure, I’m taking less classes (only 9 credits this time!), AND my dreaded Saturday morning biology labs are done, AND this is my “Language Arts/Social Studies” rotation, so I’ve got a home-field advantage, so to speak.
However, because of the way that my schedule happened to fall, instead of being in class Mondays and Wednesdays with a few online classes– like my family and I have become used to– I’ll be in class Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights until 1030.
When my advisor explained this to me, I cried. When I came home and explained it to Mitch, I cried again. After a few weeks of going back and forth, shaking my fist at the sky, and generally feeling sorry for myself, I registered for classes, and I cried some more.
I keep telling myself: It’s just 8 weeks. Eight weeks compared to delaying graduation by an entire year. But the mere idea of missing dinner with my family and bedtime with Maren for 2 months is so depressing its become a big weight on my shoulders.
My husband has been a total rock star. He did his best to re-arrange his work schedule, and we found a babysitter for one night a week that he’s needed elsewhere. I am slowly, slowly working on getting my head on straight, getting my game face on, and getting ready to breeze through the next eight weeks like its nothing.
Have you ever seen one of those movies– the first one that comes to mind is The Wedding Banquet (which is one of the best movies of all time, and DO NOT get the dubbed version….)– where the girl is all rough cut and has nothing going for her and everyone gets together and shines her up like a penny, teaches her how to act and what she’s supposed to say, and then they get her to the people she’s supposed to fool into buying her new identity, they tell her something along the lines of, “Not to stress you out– but we are all SERIOUSLY counting on you…” and then they shove her through the door, and her face is all Deer-in-the-Headlights, and she stammers and is awkward and has to find a way– some way– to pull through.
That is totally me, with my business-casual dress and curling my hair and cramming everything I can possibly learn in eight weeks into my head, cataloging everything for later, watching everyone around me for what I can learn from them– what lesson can I glean from a passing moment with a lady at the grocery store who looks like she has “IT” all together?
This has become exhausting to me. Last quarter was my hard quarter, and from here on out, it should be easy-peasy and smooth-as-buttah. But even so, I have never felt so much like giving up in my entire life. I’m not much of a quitter, and I’ve never quit anything with such high stakes…. but it’s there, and it’s tempting. Even now as I write this, the idea of dragging myself away from my family four nights a week is agonizing.
I was helping an 8 year old with her homework a few weeks ago, and she refused to even pick up her pencil. We were working on coordinate-plan graphing, which is tedious even for a grown-up, so I totally felt her pain. When I told her she had to at least try, she said she couldn’t because she knew she’d get it wrong. I told her she had to try anyway, and picked up her pencil for her. She threw it down again and said, “You don’t know what it’s like to ALWAYS GET EVERYTHING WRONG.”
Oh….. Oh, Internet. I wanted so bad to whip out my driver’s license to show her the DMV required red-ink warning that stated, “PRONE TO TERRIBLE DECISIONS.” How I longed to take this little girl with me into the Wayback Machine and show her how I was the QUEEN of ‘ALWAYS GETTING EVERYTHING WRONG.’ How I longed to explain to her how my family– who I love more than I could ever express– are still riding the shockwaves of some of those bad decisions– most of which were made long before I met my husband, and how torturous that is for me. I wanted to laugh with her until I cried and tell her that we ALL– ALL OF US– have mornings when we lie in bed and just wish with all our might that we could just stay there and not have to take a stab at anything difficult ALL DAY LONG.
And– not to be dramatic– but somewhere crammed inside all that Teacher-Stuff locked inside my brain, a red flag was waving. In my soul, the knowledge was written for me– that that Give-Up attitude could start here, right here, right this minute, with this coordinate-plane graph. All this little girl needed was the permission to give up, just this once– and next time, it would be that much easier.
So I picked up her pencil again, and I told her– “You’re wrong. I make mistakes all the time. But I have a rule at my house. You don’t have to succeed— but you do have to try.”