A Semester In Review

August 2009

We drive from 2 a.m. until 10 p.m. and then haul our every belonging up three flights of stairs.

Lance starts work at Whole Foods while I lay about the house, reading books and playing Super Smash Brothers.

It’s a hundred degrees for two whole weeks.

September 2009

Labor day screws up my school schedule. I start work and often find myself telling my boss that grad school is pretty easy, since I only have one class.

Two weeks later, I have so much reading and work I want to throw myself from a precipice.

I have three classes, 11 credits.

The Writer’s Achievement – We read four Jacqueline Woodson books every week, and then have rousing conversations. Later, we will tackle Phillip Hoose and Lois Lowry. This class is manageable, but the reading sneaks up on me sometimes.

Literary Criticism of Children’s Literature –  We read two novels and 100 pages of dense lit theory each week, and write a very difficult paper applying the dense theory to the novels. This class is intense.

Library Management – We come to class each week and talk about real life issues that will arise as managers in libraries, archives, or anywhere. My professor is hilarious. The work is valuable, but not challenging. I love this class.

My Monday-Friday life turns into Work/ Class – Come home – Nap and read – Make Dinner – Watch TV – Go to Bed. My Weekend life is Hole Up In My Room Doing As Much Work As I Possibly Can With Intermittent Bouts of Tears Because THIS PAPER IS TOO HARD!

On the bright side, Lance got a fancy teaching job! We can afford cable and internet. Huzzah.

Oh, and I buy a pair of rain boots.


School chugs along. Two of my classmates and execute a ninety minute presentation on Marxist literary theory and its application to Monster by Walter Dean Myers. We get a pretty good grade. And then we go out for drinks.

Frank and Sadie come for a visit. It is so fun. We eat Italian food, go to a bar where you can bring your dog, visit Walden Pond, and climb too many stairs up a pointy tower.

Then I go back to work.

I write my first big paper. It is about all of these books:

I get an A minus. Cut and paste this grade onto every assignment I have for the rest of the semester, except for a freak 4.0 paper. And my management class, where I rock 100 percents, no joke.

November 2009

What the heck happened in November? I can’t remember. I write more papers. I cry because they were too hard. I go out for drinks. I contract a few viral infections. I work through Lois Lowry’s ouevre. I drive home for Thanksgiving. I drive back to Boston so I can go back to class. Class. Work. Class. Work. A minuses. Class. Work.

I try to write a novel, but I don’t finish. I start going to bed at 10:30 every night and waking up at 6:30 so I can write.

December 2009

Everything wraps up. I go to Lois Lowry’s house (which I still need to write about… I’m aware of that fact). I write two papers in a five day academic marathon. I kill lots and lots of trees.

And then I’m done. We do go out for one last drink.

Elena, Colleen, Jamie, me, and Lauren. We share 6+ hours a week for a semester, and then it’s over.

The Aftermath

So here I am. I’ve been free and easy since Friday. It started to weird me out on Monday. Where is my syllabus? Shouldn’t I be DOING something?

This semester, I have been busier than I ever have. Even when I was taking 18 credits and working 20 hours a week in my undergrad. Even when I was taking 15 credits and working 20 hours a week and singing a cappella and revising a novel. Even when I was working 24 hours a week, commuting 10, working out 3-4 times a week and babysitting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There’s constantly something to do, something to think about, something to be planning for. And then a lot of places to be, a lot of things to do around the apartment, shopping that needs to be done, holidays to think about, keeping your energy and health up, and the BOOKS, oh the books there are seven thousand books that must be read!!

Since Friday, I have been a full-time selfish person. My duties include playing Wii games. Christmas shopping. Watching movies. Reading the books I want to read. Making batch after batch of granola. Figuring out whre the good TV marathons are. Obsessively looking for grades.

I got an A in management, natch.

Lance – in case you were curious – loves his job. He’s busy too. He gets up at 5:15 so he can take his time on the highway, and get in some practicing before school starts. Teaches music all day. When he’s not staying after for band or Seussical practice, he tutors kids in math for some extra $$.

He works hard.

And tomorrow, we go home.

Back to Michigan.


How did that happen?

I’m happy to be going home,

but I’m happy to have had such a good semester.


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