Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Very Stressful Semester

Blog updates just aren't happening as regularly as I hoped.

A lot has been going on at school. It seems like busy semesters are a universal principle, regardless of the college or level of education. A slew of deadlines have come up, so much of my time as been devoted to meeting those deadlines. One of my last minute efforts really paid off, however, because I got a department scholarship that will carry me through the summer. That means I'll have some money coming in and I'm not going to be teaching. I'm looking forward to being more of an academic, and less of an instructor and student.

I have a big project looming in the not so near future, and I still need to get my taxes done. This year is going to be a pain, since I have to do returns for several states. It pays to stick around in one location for more than a couple years. Last year I owed Connecticut a whopping $10, and every year I go through the hassle of trying to explain to the State College Burrow that I am not a Pennsylvania resident.  I can't wait till I have a real job where I am stationary for more than a couple years at a time. I'll never make enough money or have enough assets to warrant anything other than the EZ form, and settling down somewhere will streamline the process even more.

My students also have papers and exam coming up, which puts an extra burden on me to grade their assignments. However, papers take a really long time to grade, and it seems like they have had one paper after another to turn in. I simply do not have the time to give, and they'll just get it when I get around to it.

I've also been dealing with my health issues, finally. Ever since this summer I've been having intermittent panic attacks: tight chest, difficulty breathing, mood swings. They come and go, but this semester I really feel the pressure. On Monday I went to go see a counselor and I'll be seeing one regularly for a while to see if I can manage my emotional and anxiety issues with therapy alone. I don't want to go trying medications at this point in the semester, and I don't like the idea of being on something. However, if the therapy doesn't work out I'll try some anti-anxiety  sort term to see if that helps. I just can't go on feeling overwhelmed, I know it isn't healthy.

Part of the issue is that I overextended myself this semester. I've never really felt like I had so much going on that I couldn't function, but I'm coming close to that lately. I will never take so many credits as a graduate student ever again. I'm registered for 13, which is INSANE. It didn't seem like so much when I signed up for it, and it didn't get really rough until a month or so ago. Next semester, I'm signing up for the minimum I can get by on. I figure after a whole year of really pushing myself, I can afford to back off and focus on other things.


  1. Holy cow, 13 credits is just too much! I am just a master's student, taking 13 credits along with my research assistant duties, and it borders on being too much. I can't imagine these 13 credits, plus something more time intensive such as teaching, coupled with the additional conferences, meetings, etc. that I am sure you have to do as a PhD student.

    Good luck and heed your own advice next semester!

  2. I know I'm coming to the party late, but I just wanted to say - you sound like how I felt this time last year. :) I started seeing a school counselor, too. I think more grad students do that than we may realize - and it really makes me think that serious, in depth stress management classes should be a part of grad school curriculum!

    We've all been there. Fit Sanity Time into your schedule as much as you do school work - it's worth the investment. :)

  3. I really appreciate hearing that, thanks :-)