Saturday, April 19, 2008

You know what?

This has been a really, really tough week. I'm not sure I understand why--I should be happier than happy, and yet I've gone on two good crying jags in the past four days.

Take Tuesday, for instance.

I got out of bed tired and anxious because this was the day I was supposed to present my research in the doctoral colloquium (the day before my oral exams, what's that about?). Transitioned from anxious to irritated after checking my e-mail. Moved from irritated to relieved when I arrived on campus to find out that I had received a dissertation travel grant. Went into the colloquium feeling pretty confident, only to get into a ridiculously stupid argument with a member of the faculty. Spent three hours feeling furious and hurt. Followed that up with an afternoon of crashing through therapy, and in the evening I found myself crying in the kitchen while Catherine tried to make dinner. Pulled myself together, blew my nose, checked my e-mail, only to find out that I had received a major research fellowship. How many ups and downs can one very fragile graduate student take in one day? Not very many, as it turns out.

There is no sleep happening at my house. Tuesday night I slept for a total of two hours, dragged myself to campus for my oral exams Wednesday morning. Everyone will be glad to know that I advanced to candidacy before noon. Exhausted and relieved and glad I never have to go through that again. Had a very nice lunch with a friend, couldn't put two words together to form even teh shortest of sentences, and crashed again afterward. Made the mistake of checking my e-mail only to find out that I received a second research fellowship. Upward swing, crash again, another night of no sleep.

What day is it today? Still Friday, I think. Third night of no sleep. Yes, we felt the earthquake, but no, it didn't wake us up because we were already awake. I had just finished my second major crying fit. Reality hit about 3 a.m. Thursday night/Friday morning--having this research fellowship means 9 months away from home, no return visits allowed. The second fellowship offers me the opportunity to extend that 9 months to 12 or even 15 months. I can't turn that down, can I? Even if it means I won't be able to visit my family unless someone dies?

People do talk about post-exam or post-defense depression, but I'm not sure I'm there yet. I'm just exhausted from too much talking, too much thinking, too much emotion. I'm planning on staying in bed until Tuesday (therapy beckons). Then I'll try to sort through all the possibilities for my life and make some decisions.

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