grad school

One month of grad school — done!

Tomorrow will be official one month where I have been a grad student.

How has that been going for me? Brace yourself, this is a rant.

Despite me being a part-time grad student with a full-time job, despite it being 100% online it’s been tough to juggle. For the last two weeks, I was putting all my energy on my mid-term paper. When I first started my paper, my laptop rested in peace. Thank goodness I did my paper on Google Drive otherwise I’d start over. Now I have my husband’s laptop which he barely uses anyways. His laptop does not have Microsoft Word, so here I go again: Thank goodness for Google Drive. Also, Canvas (the online class interface) allowed cloud drive submissions, so I did not have to download to a WordPad and fix the format. Though the paper was due on Sunday, February 18th, I was determined to finish the paper on Friday night to enjoy my weekend.

I finished the paper LATE Friday night…or early Saturday morning at 3 A.M. I was determined to enjoy what was left of my weekend. Today, though I have a day off for work, I have to go to school to complete my Graduate School Proficiency exam. Yes, I can’t believe I sandwiched this proficiency exam and my midterm during the three-day weekend. But what can you do? I had to take the exam before the end of summer and I anticipate the program would get more challenging as it progressed.

Other things that I happened over the past month?

I got TMJ in late January — it was so painful, it was hard to move the left side of my face. I did get anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and a night guard. Treatment is nice to remove the pain away, but let’s face it, the root of that pain not teeth grinding but from stress.  Though I cannot control what happens to me at night, I know I do clench my teeth when I am hit with stress.

It’s funny how people conclude you get a night guard, the pain goes away, and expect you to go back to business. That’s an awful, unsustainable cycle. People have always praised me for being a hard worker and taking on a lot, but now I am backing off. This jaw pain is a reminder I need to step away from my cubicle and take a walk — which is, by the way, healthier than those who take multiple breaks throughout the day to smoke.

It is a reminder that I put in my 8 hours, I should go home.

Slept in? That’s ok too.

It is a reminder to be kind to myself…to be everything to myself just as I am to everyone. 

It has been a chaotic month especially with TMJ thrown into the mix. I had to balance school, work, recreation, and now…rest — I blame it on the muscle relaxers.

Thankfully I have my dogs, my husband, my family, and friends being supportive by getting me out. I went to Joshua Tree one weekend after completing my first week in grad school. I brought my school readings with the intention to study sometime during the trip — that did not happen.

Last Friday, my husband took me out to dinner with friends. After midterms, I went with my husband and friends to the Pasadena Asian Pacific Museum to celebrate Chinese New Years.

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I — and other people I know — would go against going out. They’ll say, “you don’t have enough time for recreation!” But I have to say, staying in and putting my head down is how I got the TMJ in the first place.

Aside from my past few weeks with TMJ. Grad school has been good, and it’s been challenging. My background is I work in non-profit, I feel I am getting a deeper understanding of the theories around public administration and non-profit management.

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