Argh. I don’t understand CFD. I could go on and on about how all the Taylor series and numerical expansions and differencing schemes are turning my brain to mush, but I’ve done that enough lately. At least the class is recorded, and I can watch the webcast anytime. Listening to last week’s lecture a second time made a bit more sense, and I was able to watch the problem session that I couldn’t go to this morning because I have another class at the time.
This afternoon I went to a welcome session for graduate women. It was really nice! The first hour was a sort of panel discussion by 5 current or former female grad students, and it was really interesting to hear how many of them felt the same way upon entering grad school that I do right now — wondering how my application managed to slip past and let me be admitted, thinking everyone in my classes totally understands all the material while I sit here either cursing myself for forgetting so much or just being totally clueless. Worrying that I’m wasting another five years of my life in school.
One girl in particular offered some terrific advice. Her name was Ayodele Thomas, and she is a 1996 Georgia Tech grad who won a Truman scholarship! I had heard of her early in my Tech days, from Randy I think, but had never met her and had no idea she was at Stanford. Is it just coincidence that she was the one on the panel I found most interesting? Anyway, she perfectly described my thought process: ok, so I’m in graduate school, which is going to be hard and take a lot of time, and if I get a Ph.D. I’ll be here for five or six (etc…) years, at which point I’ll finally look up and realize I’m 28 or 29 (etc…) and I’m alone and have nothing outside of school.
Ayodele thought the same thing at first. She was stuck in the mindset that school was different from the real world, and that her life was on hold until she graduated. She told us how she finally realized it would be better to accept things exactly the way they were, and to enjoy it. Instead of her life being school, she reversed the process and made school only one part of her life. She joined outside organizations, she started mentoring some undergrads. She made close friends and set aside time to spend with them. She realized she is a member of the Bay Area community, and not merely a Stanford student. Six months later, she met a guy who is now her husband.
Cheesy as all that may sound, I found it rather inspiring. I sometimes wish I could warp speed through the graduate program so that I’m not late for wherever my life is going, or falling behind the rest of the world. I constantly worry that staying in school is just my way of putting off the inevitable — joining the 8 to 5 world, staring at my computer all day and then leaving at night to follow the masses of single people trying to find someone to spend their life with. It’s always nice to talk to someone who had the same fears as you, and see that the worries were really unfounded, in the end.
Anyway. That was rather deep. And now, I’ve got to get back to my homework.
Hi. Here I am. Awake. Late. About to go to bed, right after I make this resolution, to be witnessed by, well, whoever reads this:
I will stay ahead on my homework and not take on any additional obligations so that I don’t have to stay up until 2:30 a.m. anymore.
Procrastination and overcommitment, which led to staying up until the wee hours of the morning, is what made my last semester at Tech such a hellish one. A constantly sleep-deprived Sarah is a very unpleasant person to be around. I think Carter, Kent, Christina, especially Becca and Karen, and just about everyone else who saw me at any point between January and May could tell you that. So there in lovely bold type is my resolution not to do it anymore.
Ok then, that’s settled. Good night.