Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 1: Graduate School Isn't as Scary as I Thought or, How I Managed Not to Cry

When you've been working full-time all summer, school sneaks up on you. I at least started a list of books I need to buy, but when I woke up this morning for work and school, it still hadn't dawned on me that I am a college graduate and starting my masters program.

Instead, I was having to ride through a cloud to work with no appropriate gear and traumatized by the fact that there were already assigned readings and there was no conceivable way that I was going to get them covered before my class at 2 o'clock! I was scheduled at the shop from 7.30am-1pm but I was so nervous & burnt, I had to clock out early. Thankfully, my manager gets it and was cool about it. He and my co-worker could tell I was visibly upset and nervous. They ended up talking me down, which helped significantly.

I left work and got to campus about 40min before class was to start. I went up residential streets on my bike, to avoid all the walkers on campus. Hauling up Channing on a fixie and 20 extra pounds on my back was no easy feat, but I figure I'll become stronger and faster after a few rounds. When I got to campus, I locked my bike outside the building but stupidly left my helmet hanging out on my handlebars. It wasn't until a good 20 minutes later that I realized I didn't have my helmet and I almost flipped out. Turns out, it was still hanging where I left it, but I will NEVER be doing that again. I blame my shaky nerves for my carelessness.

I ventured inside Wurster Hall, which is the College of Environmental Design, but also where the City & Regional Planning department is located. I found my class, with another class in session, so I went back out to the main lobby. Looked around at the various postings and maps, trying to focus on anything that might continue to keep me calm.

It got to be 1.55pm and I was getting nervous because the previous class was still in session and there was no sign of other students waiting around for the class. Joke's on me, Cal runs on "Berkeley time", in which all classes start 10 minutes past the hour. Why they won't switch the schedules to reflect that is beyond me, but it's nice to know there is that little window, since most everyone (except me) runs late.

Class was a breeze, the usual review of the syllabus and urging us to get the books for the sake of our brains and our learning. The professor is AWESOME! I found myself thinking that he is very much "Mills material" and this very well could have been a Mills class, save for the many, very fine looking gentlemen in my class. I've yet to learn anyone's names, but I will be sure to change that. I contributed to the subsequent discussion and realized that "Hey, you really know what you're doing".

When I realized this, I knew that this semester was going to be great, even with the $350 in books that I'm going to have to read. I'm finally getting to study what I love and set myself up for the rest of my life.

And that's how I managed not to cry on my first day of graduate school.

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