Thursday, June 7, 2012

24 years of something or another

Good Morning,

Yes... Yes, indeed. It has been quite a while.

Anyhow. Today, I am sitting at my office, with all these books surrounding me... Most of them revolving around political identity, which tend to be written by sociologists or anthropologists... rather than authors in my primary field of political science.... makes me feel angsty....


So, basically... I have been experiencing a severe case of "Senioritis" --> Maybe all graduate students go through this... but it really gets tough at some point, when you feel like you are on this never ending stream of work... which is odd... because you do have some breaks in between...

My question is this... does it mean that everyone undergoes "senioritis" the rest of their lives, because they will be doing exactly what they are doing for the rest of their lives --- hence it being called a "career"? I love my career, but I feel like I need a time off from it all. Yet, it is in this pivotal moment, that if I leave it, even in a brief separation, it will haunt me... for the rest of my life. o.O

Plus, I don't think I could ever separate from it.... My brain would just run around in circles of what research projects 'could have been completed' while undergoing such a separation from work. So, maybe people just need to take short but meaningful vacations... A day away from life, 2 days, 5 days, maybe a week.

But when you do that, don't you feel guilty? I mean, I do... Imagine telling your parents or your spouse (not that I am married to my career or anything) that you need time away from "Reality"... It is as though you are choosing fantasy over the real world. Even temporally. So, even when I go on vacations... I take my books with me. Or I have to take a family member with me... I can't just go alone, because separating from reality seems to be daunting, intimidating, and possibly a bridge to insanity.

I went off on a tangent from my intended purpose for this post...

This is for all you people in the world... This may sound SUPER CLICHE... but I am going to say it, because after 24 years (yes a short span of life) of a BUSY BUSY LIFE STYLE.... these are my 5 tips:

1- CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES, no matter how minuscule they may seem, because all of that hard work comes together in baby steps.... These miniature celebrations are a breath of relief.

----- For example, in the last 5 years, I have been working on a PhD in Political Theory -- but along the way, I took 2 series of comprehensive exams and (as of this month) will have completed 2 masters, one in Polisci and the other in Near Eastern Studies --- and I never celebrated these things along the way... so, embrace your jovial side and celebrate your successes.

2- Don't ever think you need to be separated from your family in order to succeed. Yes, family can be annoying and drive you crazy.... but you do the same thing to your family. My family has put up with my mood swings, my tantrums, my deadlines, my conferences, and so forth.... Even though you think you may be more effective away from them, and in many instances this may be true, but your family also changes your pace so that you are never bored, sick of it completely, or drowning in self-inflicted solitary confinement of your research.

3- Just do it. --- sorry nike, I stole your tag line --- but really, if there is something you want to do... just do it. Be impulsive once in a while (or like me, frequently). You want to become a rapper, just do it and record a song. You want to sew an outfit, do it and realize 'oh snap, I stink at this'. You want to cook an incredible meal, just do it. You want to go on a day long vacation, just do it. You want to start a business venture, just do it.... Sometimes, being impulsive, is the best way to experience life outside of the office. Its also a good way to discover your hidden talents and weaknesses; thereby, making you a more well-rounded individual.

4- Take in advice and make your own decisions. Maybe this is something that has to do with my personality. But usually, I seek the advice of people, both strangers and close ones, on a scenario both directly and indirectly. Just because you listen to what people have to offer doesn't mean you are going to do what they tell you to do. And just because you do something that someone suggested, doesn't mean you can lay blame on the person if it doesn't succeed. Essentially, the choice is yours in the end, but hearing different perspectives may give you that edge to make a final decision on complicated and simple decisions. BUT AGAIN, THE DECISION IS ULTIMATELY YOUR OWN, so don't go around accusing others of giving your bad advice. You are seeking their perspectives, they aren't prophets or sages.

5- Find your stress reliever and make sure it is a balanced approach. For me, I go on long winded walks, maybe for 6-7 miles (2-4 hours), or a run (in which I RARELY invite anyone). Sometimes, I meet up with friends to play a game of basketball or soccer, just to burn off steam. I don't know if people have noticed how I am in sports, but I seem a little out of it, like the game is mechanical, but my brain is analyzing something totally outside the scope of my current reality. It is because, in order to think things through, my body has to be physically engaged, in order to be mentally productive. That is just how I am. So, if you are the type who needs to be alone, then go off on your own for a while. But come back to the world in which you are situated.

I guess that is what I have to say.