Penn GSE, One Month In

I’ve been a full time grad student for a month now; its time to check in.

What I have read so far.

The picture above is a bit misleading in that I read 2 books on my Kindle and I usually print the online excerpts 4 to a page. Just over 2,500 pages in 30 days. I’ve only had to write a total of 20 pages, but I have talked much more than that. I talk a lot.

I do not suggest reading books for class on a Kindle. While perfect for those to and fro subway commutes, not so much for in class critique and holistic deconstruction of writing style and concept presentation compared to the historiographic predecessor. I have no idea what that last sentence means, but I would if I had read the text in a real book as opposed to on my Kindle.

Reading in the Wynn Commons

While reading on the Subway is necessary, I have open to me other options as well. While the tables just outside Houston Hall are nice, the weather is not always as accommodating.

Van Pelt Library

The Van Pelt Library has nice views and comfortable seating, and about 2 million undergrads. they are nice people for sure, but they take up a lot of comfortable seating.

Graduate Student Center

The Graduate Student Center has no undergrads, free coffee and tea (nice if you drink such things), but sadly no hard wood or leather. How appalling!

The home office

There is of course always the home office, but it is often overrun by a three year old, a seven year old, and a honey-do list. Not to mention distractions of my own making, like blogs and whatnot.

Locust Walk

There are plenty of places on campus. I suppose it does not matter as long as the work gets done. At the root of all this, that is the struggle, getting it all done.

I had my first bout of anxiety and a heart to heart with the person most important to me. My mental check list was insufficient, my planner was condemning me, and I had to make some adjustments.

Thank heavens for a supportive cast, one as invested in my success as I am, because unfortunately when looking at my schedule they are the only ones who have room to move. I have no doubt they will fare just fine with less of my help, they did so just fine before, but it isn’t them I am really worried about, its me.

There is an inner Puritan in me that riddles me with guilt due to the fact that I so deeply enjoy what I am studying. To be successful I must see less of my family, a sacrifice indeed. But what I’m doing while I’m away feels like fun, dealing with a three year old who has skipped her nap-time does not.

I feel like some sort of bandit and surprisingly enough my conscience is not used to it.

The spot where I do most of my studying. I'm not telling you where it is.

13 thoughts on “Penn GSE, One Month In

  1. I know exactly what you mean. Every moment away, even though it is hard work, can be more fun than the eternal to-do list at home. And I feel guilty at times. And if I don’t I feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

    You have a better excuse than I do – and a more supportive cast. So dive in and do it well. Maybe schedule Saturdays for intense family time and make that scheduled time a high priority.

    1. Come on John, its called a “theme”. Thats like me looking at your portfolio and saying I’m tired of old buildings and clouds. But thats OK, we all know what you really meant is that you are just tired.

  2. Let the inner Puritan go – it is okay to study to escape the cranky 3 yr old. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I am leaving my spouse to deal with my own cranky 3 yr old.

  3. Dalyn, I’m sooo jealous of your full-time student status. I have been trying to do that for a couple of years now, but the fates have aligned to prevent such persuits. (either that or a certain special needs 5 year old needs “Mooommmmmmeeee”)

  4. Ah ha! It’s called mother guilt… this sneaking off feeling that you have when missing your three-year olds tantrum or what not. I feel it ALLLLLLL the time. It’s nice to know that it sometimes plagues men as well when in student status.

    Curious: So, did you not feel this when you were working? Is it a feeling that will go away once I stop being student and start working and am away from my kids/husband/home life?

    1. I did not really feel it while working but I assume it is because I never enjoyed my job.
      I would compare this more to the feeling of going snowboarding while the wife is at home with the kids. Right now, school feels more like snowboarding than a job.

  5. Your photography is fantastic. Would love to see more of the nooks and crannies of Penn and, theme aside, less of your shoes. By the way, never admit to a theme. You can have one. Just never say what it is. You’ll look cooler that way.

    1. Thanks for the photog compliment. Means a lot coming from you.
      Now cool has always escaped me so I definately need the help… now tell me that part about Kenny G again?

  6. I love your blog, you should add an RSS feed feature so I can get automatic notifications of new blogs. If you set one up please email me! i will bookmark you for now. Again Excellent Blog!

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