August 16, 2008


I'm gonna miss this...

Now, before I go any further, I want to preface this post by saying that I recognize and am thankful for the many blessings I've been given. I have a wonderful family that loves me, respects me, and supports me. I have had nearly every opportunity in my life. The chance to go to college, to find a career, to find another career, all without fear of financial struggle and hardship. I've had my share of hardships, but they ultimately pale in comparison to many others. My life has generally been very charmed, and I am exceedingly grateful for that. Anyway, as I was saying...

I'm gonna miss this. I don't mean the job specifically, though I will miss the job and I will miss the people, I mean the life. Specifically, I mean having a life. There are a lot of reasons why the Guildhall is difficult, why it really stretches you to your breaking point, but I think the worst thing is the way it forces you to sacrifice your life now in hopes of getting it back later. I'm really amazed at the people who manage to start or even keep a relationship going here, I'm not sure if I could do it. I mean, I've watched relationships fall apart under the best of circumstances, and these are among some of the worst. The Guildhall basically requires that you sacrifice your entire life outside of school in order to succeed, and it only gets worse from term-to-term.

Your first term, you have to cut out a lot of the extra stuff you may have been used to doing. Hobbies or social activities during the week are the first to go, then maybe that job you were thinking of keeping one day a week, then maybe your weekly church service or volunteer time. Gone. After that, the next few terms start to cut out any social interaction with people outside the program. Forget going out on weekends or meeting new people, you don't have the time. On a weekly basis you'll sometimes be lucky if you even get a chance to talk to someone from your immediate family. I can think of a few occasions where Rick said I had "gone dark" for several weeks and he was just calling to make sure I was still breathing.

The next thing to go is your personal time, the things you do just for you, playing videogames, watching TV, listening to music, whatever it might be, it's either gone or relegated to a couple hours a week. The final and last sacrifice is sleep. When you've given up everything in your life and there still isn't enough time to get the work done, it's the only thing left to lose. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate education before now, I never once had to pull an all-nighter. Oh, I had my fair share of late nights, but never an all-nighter. Here it has happened more times than I can least, 10, maybe more. The first few times it was cool to be that passionate about something, but eventually it gets tiresome (literally) and your body just won't do it anymore.

I really feel that all these sacrifices take a toll on your spirit, and I think over the past few weeks I've managed to recapture a little of what was lost, but not nearly enough. I'm not saying this to gain pity or attention, just expressing what's going on in my head. Eventually, I'll just have to get over it and accept that that is the way things are right now. I may wish they were different, but I'm everyone does when things are bad. I have the benefit of knowing that this time can't last much longer, and, if I'm willing to accept the consequences, it can be over whenever I want. I've come this far and I want to see it through, but I need to rally myself for this final sprint.

The one thing I am endeavoring to do over the next four months is to take things easier on myself. Knowing myself as well as I do, I realize this will be a real challenge as I will need to overcome some serious baggage in order to let things go, but it's something I really need to do. I can't keep pushing myself as hard as I have, and I certainly can't live the rest of my life that way. My goal is to basically set work hours for myself (though something closer to 12 hours/day, 6 days/week) and try to adhere to them, so I can work at work and decompress after. Odds are the curriculum will not really support this, but I'm still going to try my best and try to accept what this may mean for my grades or timely completion of my thesis.

Anyway, I am going to miss this, and I am going to try to squeeze out as much joy from these last couple days as possible, then hit the ground running come Monday (though I may start revving up tomorrow). On that note, my games aren't going to play themselves, so I'm off...

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