“Tell me why you’re here,” said my professor today at our graduate communication research class, “and please be honest. I don’t want the polished version. It helps me help you out. I know what it’s like to sit in grad school and have to make stuff up about what you think and why you’re in the program when maybe you don’t know.”
Always one to appreciate candor, I gladly listened as my seven classmates introduced themselves. About half of them were adults. They had jobs. Spouses. Beards. It made me feel more at home among people who also had varied activities. Despite attempts to simplify my life and really pare it down to what matters to me, I’m still going to be pretty busy this semester with track (or attempts to compete), cycling club (if track doesn’t pan out), working at the running store and, oh yeah, graduate school. But my classmates have their hands in other things too which makes school more interesting — tell me more about that film you’re making for your thesis! – and means that they will understand the stresses of being pulled in a couple different directions.
Throughout undergrad, it was easier. I was a student-athlete, emphasis on athlete. I was a PR major, and while I got good grades it wasn’t that hard. Even with full athletic prioritization, there was room to do a great job in school. The future was a dim possibility and finances, thanks to generous scholarships, were not a concern. Now though, I have a little more on my mind. Part of it is my fault. I don’t need this job at the running store, but it’s fun and it’s helping me save for next year, not to mention giving me a ground level look at running retail as part of the overall running industry. I also don’t need to be in cycling club, but since I still can’t run it is awesome to have people to workout with. The part of this whole being-really-busy scheme that is not my fault is having to think about the future. I still want to run competitively after college, but what form will that take? Worst case I’ll just get a full time job and pursue running on my own. Then that means it is time to start job searching. Wowza.
What did I tell my prof? Why am I in grad school? I’m finishing up my last year of track eligibility. I got a stress fracture in the fall though so I’m not able to compete, at least for indoor season. Joke’s on me! (I didn’t say it that sarcastically).
Anyway, this might be my last semester in college. Sic ’em, first days, honest profs and new classmates.