Posts Tagged ‘coursework’

Well

August 10, 2015

It’s official.

I am a graduate student.

I have gone through the introduction, I have made it here, I did not turn around, although my ride jokingly did make the offer as we were headed onto the bridge.

“Last chance!” She said as we passed by the last of the San Francisco exits before the Golden Gate Bridge.

She was a total peach and saved my butt.

My original ride got a hold of me 45 minutes prior to needing to leave–not one, but two flat tires on his vehicle.

Fuck.

He was so remorseful about it and so wanting to help he offered me the option of calling an Uber and paying for it.

I happened to be working with someone when I got the text, so I had my phone off, and I wouldn’t have seen it, that text until after she left if it weren’t for the fact that we were trying to reconcile schedules for the next time we can meet.

My schedule, is um, ah, ahahahaha, a little full right now.

I picked up my phone to check my calendar and saw the text.

My heart stop beating and I just cringed.

Oh shit.

I told my ladybug that I was processing the text and I don’t know what exactly I said, maybe, probably, “oh fuck,” as I was reading it trying to discern in my head what was the next move, could I do Uber to Petaluma, what time would I get there, would there even be any cars available since Outside Lands was making a disaster of driving in my neighborhood.

“I’ll take you,” she piped up.

Oh my god.

Thank you!

And she did.

She left to go get her car and a cup of coffee for the road and I made a quick-lunch that I had prepared yesterday.

I had gotten up early, showered, did the trash and compost, watered the plants, checked in with the housemate to let her know I would be gone, ate some breakfast, drank a lot more coffee than I normally do, packed my bags and organized my books, notebooks, and readers.

I also packed up the two readers for the two classes I am NOT enrolled in and brought them with in hopes of being able to sell them–at cost not trying to make a profit off my fellow classmates here–when I arrived at the retreat.

I posted a quick e-mail to the class list server and I got two offers right away.

As of a half hour ago I was able to hand off the two readers and two books to a fellow in the other cohort who happens to be bunked in the same dorm building as I am.

Speaking of.

But not very loudly.

I either don’t have a room-mate or she hasn’t arrived yet.

I am so hoping that I don’t have a room-mate.

Please, please, please.

It would be such a gift to have the room to myself the entire time I am here.

I am a creature of habit and routine and there are certain practices I have, especially with my morning routine that I was loath to even think about sharing.

Which is funny.

I am going to graduate school to get my Masters in Psychology to be a clinician, to be a therapist, to allow others to hold their own space and be a witness to and a guide and to help facilitate that move to authenticity of self, but pray in front of a stranger?

Please.

No thank you.

The thing is.

I would have.

I am just grateful, mainly for the space to stretch out.

The room is tiny, the beds are twins, there is one desk, two wee closets and a couple of communal bathrooms down the hall.

One less person in the dormitory is fantastic.

One less person in this tiny space is phenomenal.

And I like my space, I like knowing I can come and go and not disturb or be disturbed by another person.

I almost asked for a private room originally, but I would have had to pay extra for it and well, folks, graduate school it ain’t cheap, so I said I would share a room to keep my costs down.

So pleased to be alone.

I don’t feel lonely.

I just like to have a little alone time at the end of the night or to be able to quietly read in between classes.

And.

I am not the only person who did not get all the reading in or the only person who did not know how to access certain syllabi and who had troubles with the online portals.

A lot of folks did and I am sure there are a handful of students who did get the readings all done, but it appears that the majority of us did not.

There has been a flurry of activity since we got out of the welcome and introductions and the first exercises, which were really quit fun, although challenging ( I ended up getting partnered with a woman from Paris and we spoke French and that was hella fun and unexpected.  She used to live near the tattoo shop that I got my jackalope done in the Marais!) and longer than I expected.

We were let go at 9:15 p.m. and I co-ordinate with a guy in the other cohort and he took my readers I won’t be using and then I helped another student get online and navigate to the paper that needs to be written tonight, so many people in my cohort had new clue about the paper, then I looked over the schedule for tomorrow and I realized, I have as much done as I can.

I could read more.

But my brain is frizzled and, well.

I wanted to write.

This will be my bastion.

This will be my safe space.

My little nook in the hills were I can go and dump my anxiety and fears and let it all go.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be and though I can see the road is long, arduous, full of reading and writing and vulnerability, the journey is so worth it.

Not the destination.

The journey.

This journey.

Just to get to where I am at this little pressed plywood desk in a dorm room up in the hills outside of Petaluma, California.

Oh, my dear, my darling girl, look how far you have come.

My heart is full.

Overwhelmed and joyful.

Scared?

Sure.

But that’s just the way I am hard-wired.

Faithful, though, in the process of walking through.

“Just smile and be yourself,” her message said in regards to the retreat, “you’ll be amazed at how well you do.”

And I am amazed.

Before I was halfway through.

Easy Does It Lady Pants

July 6, 2015

I really feel like I should be freaking out.

Except.

I am a little too tired to freak out.

I opened up the required reading for my classes, which holy shit, Batman, starts in just over a month, and I got a little, a lot, overwhelmed.

Breathing.

And I don’t have to start the reading today.

I do have to start it soon, I’m sure.

Or at least the process of acquiring the materials.

I know that I can get some of the readers online and there are specific sites that were indicated as well as going down to campus and buying books from the store.

Gosh, golly, geewhilickers.

I cannot remember the last time I bought books for school.

It would have been my last semester in 2002 at UW Madison and I was usually pretty up on my syllabus, so I probably bought them before the semester began, so December 2001, last time I went to a university book store and bought books.

While I was reading over the syllabus, I’m not afraid of the reading, FYI, in case you were wondering, I am a quick read, but I was feeling anxiety about figuring out how to find the books, what materials need to be read, how to locate and collect all the materials.

I envision a tidy stack of book on my table here.

I envision notebooks and more pens and figuring out how to collate all my materials in one place on my laptop.

I did not have a laptop when I was an undergrad.

I had the biggest, heaviest, oldest computer ever, with software that was licenced in 1994 or 1993.

It was a behemoth and I actually had it for a long time.

In fact, I brought it out here to San Francisco and used it for the first few years I was out here, actually if I am recalling correctly, I may have had that old beast until about 2007 or 2008?

Must have been, because I had my old laptop, my Macbook, for about seven years and now I’m on this Macbook Air.

Funny how things progress.

But I am old-fashioned and where I find a lot of comfort is on the page, the notebook page with a pen and paper.

I am going to have to become adept in using my laptop as a school tool.

I am going to have to become a student.

Again, my brain is not worried about the reading, I’ll read it fast and quick, and then re-read for further comprehension, I’m lucky, grateful, and probably a natural at being a student as I read fast and have a high level of understanding of what I am reading.

What I am anxious about is the acquisition of books and reading materials.

I must have a number of things read before I head off to the retreat in August–the 9th through the 16th.

It’s up in Petaluma and I have to also figure out a ride there.

Logistics get to me.

Finding the stuff, getting the stuff, locating the stuff.

You should have seen me yesterday as I tried to navigate out to that farmer’s market in Atlanta, I was walking around in circles for a good half hour before I finally conceded and dropped a pin to get picked up by an Uber.

Thank God for Uber.

I used it a lot this weekend.

I am home, in case you hadn’t figured that out.

Home.

Slowly getting my bearings and settling back into myself and my space, my routine and dealing with setting up myself for the work week ahead.

I had a delicious, cozy, snuggly nap snack that was the highlight of my day, I fell asleep warm and secure and wrapped up and as I drifted off I saw the lilac trees in the Atlanta neighborhood of Castleberry Hill where I stayed on the backs of my eyelids.

I was drifting in and out and the trees came to me and then, I was asleep.

I was out pretty hard for a couple of hours I think.

I am not sure.

I woke up woozy and drunk with afternoon sleep, which is a pleasant place to be, but I did not know what to do with myself.

I wasn’t quite ready to get out and about, but I knew that I should try.

And not to put too fine a point on it, I admonish myself, I did get out and about today, I had an hour of sleep between going to bed last night and getting up at 4 a.m. to head out to the airport.  I napped a little on the plane, and when I got picked up and dropped off I took care of settling in immediately.

I unpacked everything and put it all away, threw laundry in the wash, tidied up my little house, and then went out on my bike to do grocery shopping.

By two p.m. all the laundry was done, folded, put away, I had shopped and prepped my food for the week and was ready for lunch and a nap.

And that was exactly what happened.

Drifting in and out on a warm bed, softly held, gently touched, drifting away on the smell of the sea and memories of lilacs in my head.

I was remembering too, the lilac trees where I grew up, the house in Windsor had them in the back yard, and the melange of memory stole over me and sleep took me.

It was a special gift and I felt a bit bereft with the afternoon as I contemplated what to do next.

Maybe be nice to myself and let myself off the hook?

It was a big, emotional, heart wrenching weekend, and suffice to say, this isn’t exactly the forum I can get all specific about the events, but I was and am a little blown out by the emotionalism of it.

Big feels, man, big feels.

So a cup of tea, a few cherries, and I finished up the Orange is the New Black episode I had started on the plane, the finale I shall be watching after I finish writing and take a nice hot shower to soothe away the rest of my travels.

Then.

A walk down to the sea.

Ah.

The ocean.

So grounding.

I rolled up my jeans, zipped up my sweatshirt, donned a scarf, and laughed, I’m certainly not in Atlanta anymore, I walked Ocean Beach for about an hour, in and out of the surf, face in the wind, eyes to the horizon, the sound of the waves a panacea for my soul.

I talked to God.

I cried a little.

But.

I let myself cry, that’s the ticket.

I let myself have the rest of the feelings and let the sorrow and the joy and the depth of experience roll over me and I prayed, how to be of service, how to love, what actions to take next, where now?

By the time my pants cuffs were soaked, the ocean had wiped away the sorrow and I felt refreshed and at ease in my person, and back to me, back to myself, and grateful, so grateful for all these lovely experiences I have gotten to have over the last month.

It’s been incredible.

The ocean bestowed its salty kisses upon me and I came back into myself.

And.

Sure.

The syllabus freaked me out a little, but I know myself and I understand the process by which I learn.

The first time I look at something it doesn’t make sense.

I look again.

Then again.

And again.

I will absorb the knowledge without even comprehending that I am absorbing the knowledge and the reading will happen, the books will be bought and I will start in.

I only have to take a little action every day and today’s action, aside from the getting on a plane and flying cross-country and all my housekeeping, was to open the readers and start looking, to respond to the questionnaire and fill it out and send it back.

Done.

Done.

And done.

The rest will follow.

It always does.

One small step at a time.

One little day at a time.

One breath at a time.

It all happens in Gods time.

Not mine.

And it’s all happening all around me.

Exactly perfect without my anxiety or fear needing to chime in.

Easy does it.

Indeed.


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