Posts Tagged ‘Center for Writing and Scholarship’

This Long, Strange Journey

July 12, 2022

Is almost at a close.

Guess what?

I have not graduated.

Surprised?

Me too.

I have been excitedly waiting for the diploma in the mail.

Thinking, in the back of my head, when is it a good time to reach out to my university and ask, “hey, when’s that paper gonna drop?”

Mindful of the continuing weirdness that is the pandemic.

Oh.

Yeah.

Hey.

I got COVID.

CONGRATULATIONS!

What a weird ass virus this is.

First, thank fucking God I was vaccinated and boosted.

It was not a fun time.

And it was kind of fun at the same time.

At least the first couple of days.

It started with some ennui, which honestly I thought, oh, this is classic countertransference, exhaustion whilst working with a narcissist.

Look it up, I’m not kidding.

But in hind sight, I think that’s when things were starting to cook.

My brain, that is.

Later that night, last Thursday, my voice was scratchy, but I chalked that up to screaming in my kitchen.

Like, at the top of my lungs, hurt my throat, scare my cats, kind of screaming.

Why?

Well, like I opened with, I haven’t actually graduated.

Let me back pedal a moment here.

Cue June 22nd.

I am in session with a client on video, wrapping up my morning sessions and thinking about a walk and a lunch break, when my dissertation budding sends me a photo of himself holding his PUBLISHED DISSERTATION.

WTF?

I mean, seriously, I felt like I was in a nasty Twilight Zone episode.

My colleague had defended his dissertation in March, I defended last year, mid-October.

I knew that it was too late in the semester to graduate with the fall cohort and that was fine, Spring is a fine time to walk, if you can call the wierdo hybrid video and reception my school had a graduation.

I did it anyway.

I applied to graduate, turned in all my forms, did all my things, or so I thought.

Yeah.

Ha.

It turns out that there was a missing piece.

The writing center, had not received my dissertation.

I did not know this.

I had somehow, don’t get me started on that, I know exactly how I slipped through the cracks, cue a very emotional conversation I had with the Provost this past Friday, yeah, that’s right, when I was on day two of COVID, but hadn’t tested positive yet (albeit enjoying the mildly delightful low grade fever I was running and doing online shopping for Burning Man. Yes! I am going, but that is another blog), my dissertation, had somehow not gotten turned in.

In essence, the last thing that needed to be done, was not done.

I lost my shit when I saw my friend’s photo.

I texted him immediately, how did you do that?

He told me.

He told me information I had never been given despite asking, oh so many times, for information on what are the next steps, please let me know.

Please.

I have a folder of emails, back and forth and back and forth, of weird little lapses that I kept catching and sending back out to the department, hey what next? Hey, did this go through? Hey, what now?

My friend called me and listened to me angry cry and then sent me a bunch of people to contact.

I contacted them all.

I won’t go into detail all the ways I continued to be dropped, but I did, when I met with the Provost last Friday (after reaching out to them whilst continuing to be demeaned, humiliated, and shamed by the administration–amazing how cc’ing the provost finally got me somewhere), who issued me a formal apology and listened with some disgust at what happened, she also congratulated me on graduating and officially pushed through a lot of paperwork to rectify what happened.

Suffice to say.

This morning I received the final step process to get my dissertation published.

Ironically, this morning is when I turned my COVID corner.

I am feeling better.

It was mild and mellow the first two days, but day three, Saturday, it got scary.

It got scary fast.

I was suddenly congested in a way that spooked me.

I realized that I needed some sort of decongestant ASAP and I couldn’t go out, I mean, I tested positive Saturday morning, so quarantining had to continue, and what to do?

I could Instacart, but it wouldn’t get to me until Sunday morning.

And frankly, when my lips started to tingle and I could barely draw a breath, I thought, I ain’t got that kind of time.

I made a couple of phone calls and a dear heart hopped on a scooter and ran over to the Walgreens in the Castro and picked me up some stuff.

I also had a friend, very gently, suggest that if it got worse I go to the ER, and er, that you might be having a panic attack.

I did recognize that.

I was panicked.

And taking big calming deep breaths was out of the question, I was way too stuffed up, and when I panic, I cry, and when I cry I get more stuffed up.

Suffice to say, I did calm down, and it sucked, and it was scary, but I got some strong decongestant in my system, got some scary Mucinex delivered the next day–had to show ID to delivery person, how weird is that? And between Saturday night and Sunday I slept.

I mean.

All I did was sleep.

And sleep.

And sleep.

I had strange dreams.

I drank tons of water.

I would get one nostril slightly clear and breathe through one side of my nose.

My cats cuddled with me, as they are now.

I slept more on than off for 48 hours.

The last couple of days really were dream like and hallucinatory.

I canceled all my clients this week.

I was holding out that maybe, maybe, I could possibly see clients tomorrow and Thursday.

Not like in person, duh, but via video.

But I have little voice quality and I also know better and though it hurt financially, sigh, I have no COVID grant or loan or buffer with the city or state, all those ships sailed long ago, I knew it would be better to take the time off and really heal and rest.

Model for my clients too, give yourself permission to slow down.

Rest is a radical act.

And then this morning, I got back the final email from the Center for Writing and Scholarship.

They blasted through my dissertation (the one they had “never received” even though I have emails in my dissertation file with the addresses of the head of the department, my dean, the registrar, and the head admin with all the forms and things and what have you, and the head of the writing center) and got it back to me with the final check list edits done and the directions to how to upload it to ProQuest.

I am leaving out a huge chunk of what happened.

Mostly, because I don’t have the energy to replay it. It was a nasty, heart wrenching experience and if you want to know about it we can talk in person, suffice to say when this is done I will be distancing myself from the institution for a while.

And that brings me to today.

The dissertation with the email with very detailed instructions on how to proceed.

I read them a bunch.

They don’t make sense, but so much of academia doesn’t make sense.

And sometimes, a lot actually, I have to read and re-read these kinds of academic instructions, they do not come to me intuitively.

Sufficed to say, I’m finally, now, in the final leg of the journey.

And I have COVID.

But, as I mentioned, it has turned and I think I’m through to the other side.

I still sound like Lauren Bacall after a half bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes.

And I don’t have my normal amount of energy, but I haven’t been compelled to just drop everything and nap for four hours.

I read the email a bunch of times and decided, I’ll open it tomorrow.

I texted a friend who has been witnessing this whole thing and he said something interesting and I realized, am I just here at the very end of the longest mile and not pushing through?

Am I scared?

I suppose.

Perhaps it is perfectionism, I was sent a message this morning that stated perfectionism is “fear dressed up in heels and a mink coat,” and, well, I had to laugh; I do love a good dressing up.

So.

I opened it.

I opened the dissertation and I found an error that needs correcting, on page 52 of 267, and I thought, wow, that’s not bad. One little error.

And I tried to correct it and realized I had only opened it in a way that could be read but not edited.

And I paused.

Not because I want to be perfect.

But because I recognized that is enough for today.

I took the whole week off from clients.

Maybe the Universe had plans for me that I didn’t even know I needed to attend to.

I am going to be gentle and mindful, again not perfect, but also, not procrastinating.

Which means that I have done enough today.

I have begun the end.

And I can get one more night’s rest before sitting down at my desk and doing the final steps.

Tomorrow I do the deal.

The damn thing has waited this long.

It can wait one more day.

I’ll keep you posted.

And.

I’m not going to bother to beat myself up about this, I already played that story out, I’m not going to judge myself, I’m just going to be grateful that I have gotten this far and there is not much left to do. I’m not going to have false humility and not talk about what happened and pretend that I graduated with smooth sailing. It’s been a hideous, bumpy, tumultuous experience, and in some way, I am very well aware that I will walk through this so that I can turn around and say to someone going through the same thing, “see I’ve been there, I got you, you can do this too.”

And as the brain fog starts to settle back down and I’m getting a little fuzzy, I’m going to stop here as well.

I have nothing pithy to add.

Just that there might still be time to take a nap.

Really.

There is always time to take a nap.

That is all.


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