Friday, October 3, 2008

The Aftermath

It's been about a month since I found out the results of the exam.

I got the first high-pass in recent history; it's a rarity that they give them out. One professor, who is now my dissertation adviser, told me that he used my exam as a resource for designing the syllabus for the grad class he is teaching this semester. That is pretty heavy. I got to read some of the gradesheets for the exam and see what people thought about the answers... There was some nitpicking, but whatever. It's over. I sent some of my study guide to the two people who are taking it next, told them to start studying now, and now I try not to think about it too much. Even when I talk about it now to other people, I get anxious. It's like I have PTSD or something. It's one of those things where I have no idea how I managed to do that, but I did it, and there's no reason to dwell on it.

One of the hardest parts has been the transition into life after the exam. It was hard to study and get into that kind of mindset. It was hard to take it, and deal with the immediate stress of the waiting. And now it's been hard to get beyond it. I feel like a character out of a novel some days. I ran my course, I accomplished my task, I managed to destroy the One Exam and now I should be ferried out to the West. Having to go back to thinking about the whole entirety of my career after being so intensely focused on one thing hasn't been easy. Right now, I'm working on two papers, my dissertation, I'm teaching SOC 101 next semester so I'm working on my syllabus for that class, which means coming up with assignments, picking a textbook, and all that jazz, and then on top of all of that I am presenting at a conference in November, another in April (I hope), and then it's off to the job market, which is a whole other ball of wax. One of my friends on the market now has applied to 40 jobs. Another, 55. If I was on the market right now, I'd be looking at potentially moving back home, or to Chicago, Indianapolis, Boston, St. Louis, multiple cites in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Maine, Delaware, Missouri, Arizona, both Carolinas, Texas, and California.

Suffice it to say that going from being intensely focused on one single goal to being intensely focused on multiple things at once. In a sense, it's really cool -- I mean, how many people get to do this with their lives? -- but on the other hand, I desperately need a vacation, and I'm not going to get one until December, and even then, I'm going to be spending a good chunk of my time doing teaching prep (which, by the way, I found a genius way of reducing by not trying to cram everything from the textbook onto the syllabus and instead letting the students pick topics they'd like to go over in more detail. And now I just need to decide what movies, if any, I want to show.)

So, yeah, that's where things are now. Crazy, I feel sick a lot, but hey, the light is at the end of the tunnel. Right?

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