She Leads a Lonely Life

My fellow students, we have hit November with a bang. Or maybe a whimper? We have successfully turned in our midterm papers and are anxiously awaiting our grades. For many of us — these are our first graded assignments upon entering grad school. And the end of the semester feels like it will be on us in a moment. At least Thanksgiving break will be on us in a moment. In the spirit of the holiday, I have been doing some thinking on what I am thankful for this year.

I am thankful for the graduate community at St. John’s.

Perhaps you caught the Ace of Base reference in this post’s title. (And yes, I am perfectly aware that I am dating myself with that reference.) It captures quite succinctly a lot of what I’ve been feeling since I entered this doctoral program. Graduate school is a lonely experience. Most of my friends and family have not the slightest conception of the work I am doing. They appreciate that it’s important to me, which is itself a blessing. Even so, they don’t really get it. Maybe they get upset if I forget to call one week. Or they feel snubbed if I cancel on a coffee date or if I am forever putting off hanging out by saying “I’m sorry, I’m just so busy.” It’s not a line. Really. I am just that busy.

Every other student in my classes knows exactly what I’m going through, because you all right there with me. We have hundreds of pages of reading to do every.week. We respond to these readings. We respond to other students’ responses to these readings. And that’s all before the midterm and final term papers even enter the picture. So, thank you to every one of you whether you are in class with me or you have already begun your terrifying comps list (insert my undying respect for you here) or you are churning out chapters of your dissertation.

Thank you.

It might feel lonely at times, but we’re in it together and for that I am thankful.

About Steve Mentz 650 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and early modern literature at St. John's in New York City.

3 Comments

  1. Tara,
    This post came at the perfect moment! I am thinking about getting ready to come to campus, but also thinking about vacation. 🙂 It is important to appreciate what we have, embrace our academic community, and keep working no matter how much we want to sit on the couch and watch television!

  2. Tara, you nailed this! Every weekend it is a struggle to come up with an excuse as to why I can’t do this or do that. I mean how many times can someone have the flu and only on weekends? I always feel guilty though because I chose English and I knew how much reading and writing I would have to do. Funny, how I thought my family and friends knew that as well! Anyway, we do have an awesome community and this semester especially I have found the writing center to be my refuge, my home away from home. So I ‘third it’ – thank you fellow English students!

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