Work and Grad School


The picture at right is my view for the next two days straight… and probably many more, too. I’m getting into crunch time. I have less than a month left in my first semester of Grad School at Johns Hopkins! I am excited, stressed out, and exhausted all at once. I absolutely love my courses (Water Resources Planning and Smart Growth/Urban Revitalization), but whoever even thought about working full-time and going to grad school part-time should be smacked. It’s impossible. My days are constantly consumed by working all day and feeling guilty about leaving work on time and then working at night and feeling guilty about stopping to go to bed or eat dinner or heaven forbid, do nothing. Any free time that I find I constantly feel guilty and like I am wasting that time that could otherwise be put to good use.

This begs the question… did I make the wrong decision to go back to school right now? No. I am glad that I did. As I mentioned before, I love my classes; they are interesting and I’m learning a lot. Do I think that writing 3 papers a week for one class is a little excessive, yes, I do. But, that’s life. The crunch time now is spent attempting to write and edit my term papers. They aren’t really long, but they require even more work because there is a page limit. I often think to myself, one more month and I’m done. I’m free. Then it kicks in. Calculus II. I still have to finish Calculus II.

Before I started this blog, I signed up for Calculus II as a requirement for my grad school program. I have to finish it before the Spring semester begins. I worked on it here and there when I first started it out– I made progress. slowly. Now I am at a point where I am wondering how I am going to finish it. It is a mastery course that consists of about 128 assignments (including 4 exams). As a mastery course, you have to continuously revise your homework until you get 100% on it. The idea is that you walk away really understanding the program. Great in theory, but I am on about assignment #25 and I have a few corrections to make to a handful of previous assignments. My fear is that if I wait until my classes end to re-focus on Calc, I will NEVER have enough time to finish everything including a final proctored exam in time for Spring classes.

Of course in the midst of this funness of work and school I am stuck wondering if medicines will work on my AS and if my pain will decrease and my exhaustion will be squelched (hehe I like that word). In the past two weeks I’ve had an increasingly hard time using my fingers and wrists- they seem to get extremely sore and tight… to the point where I was spraying a spray bottle of cleaner and had to stop because it hurt so much and I felt like I didn’t have the strength. It sucked. It makes me wonder if this will be a re-occurring issue that I will be facing and if so, I will need to figure out a way to handle it; much of my job and certainly the majority of my schooling revolves around typing so that is a must. Guess we’ll see what the Rheumy says at my follow-up appointment next week!

I supposed I will close with this; this is a HUGE shout out to anyone who is working and going to grad school at the same time- I feel your pain.

~Stress is waking up screaming only to realize that you haven’t been sleeping~


3 responses »

  1. I’ve been in your crazy shoes before – and it SUCKS. Because on top of work and school you need extra time to take care of your health – and there already isn’t enough time for work and school. I’ve been there. ~;0(

    A few ideas for hand pain:
    -you could consider dictation software. Might even be able to get your work to buy it for you.
    -smart pen for taking notes in meetings and class. Records the conversation and tags it to the notes you take so you can go back later if your hand can’t keep up (I have one I can send you to try if you want)
    -paraffin wax dip. Heat feels good on sore joints (plus you are forced to take a 10 min break while the wax dries)

    As for your school work, I HIGHLY recommend that you register with your school’s disability department (especially if you are dealing with physical pain in the back/hands/everywhere that your classmates don’t have to deal with.) It sucks to have to use the label “disabled” (I’ve been there too) but the Americans With Disabilities Act REQUIRES your school (and your workplace for that matter) to provide accommodations for you – things like extra time on exams for slow fingers, note take in your classes, extensios on projects to accommodate your health. It’s a particularly good idea to start talking to them BEFORE you get in over your head with the work. Honestly, you have more to deal with than your classmates and they have resources to help. Utilize them – it’s now I finished law/grad school without killing myself.

    And that’s my 2 cents. Ok, ok. That was more like 27 cents, but you know what I mean!! ~;0)

    Good luck!!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, Mariah! I didn’t even think about/know there was a disability department (yes I realize that is dumb on my part). It’s hard because my courses are mostly online but I guess it’s worth talking with them to see what we can do. Maybe it could help me with my Calculus proctored exam in January… Thanks, again!!!

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