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Half agony half hope

The semester is done! Oh my god, the semester is done!

The week of finals was oddly really stressful. I had to write a giant paper on Jane Austen (I’m not joking, it ended up being 27 pages and only because I sort of cheated and didn’t double space the block quotes, otherwise it would have been in the 40s with the works cited page) and present part of it to the class. I had to take an actual final exam on Jane Austen which was weirdly also stressful (seriously, do you recall the name of the estate where Edward Ferrars met Lucy Steele? How about the name of the ship that Captain Wentworth sailed on for his first voyage and then the one he commanded right before reconnecting with Anne Eliot? How about the source of Charlotte Lucas’ father’s fortune? No, of course you don’t, because English majors are CRAZY and our final exams become like hyped up Extreme Jeopardy: Word Nerd editions) and in another class, I along with the other students had to present stealable pedagogy/teaching techniques to the bulk of the English department’s faculty and Dean, which was then voted upon by everyone and force ranked. Plus, teaching evaluations were coming in from my freshmen and while I usually have really great evaluations, I also usually have a LOT more latitude with my lesson plans and can create the projects and assignments from whole cloth, whereas this semester, I had to follow the plan and cadence dictated by the department and also, English Composition is a pretty thankless task, so I was stressing out a great deal there as well.

As it turned out, much like a Jane Austen novel, everything worked out in the end. I got an A in my Austen class (I have no idea how the paper itself went over — I’ll get my copy back from him when I go back to campus next semester). I received first place in the “steal my idea” contest and got an Amazon gift card and an actual crown (which was basically the real reason I brought my A game — apparently I’m very motivated if it means I can wear a dollar store sequin crown without shame) and got an actual A+ in that class (which I didn’t think was a possibility). And the eight students who filled out my evaluations absolutely love me, so yay, my teaching doesn’t suck even when I kind of hate the content/objective.

I had a weird stress flash as the semester concluded, particularly on Thursday night after my final workshop (which went 50 minutes late because sometimes grad students like to talk, even when they are reading impossibly stupid things out loud, they must not cede the floor, by gum!). Happily Esteban had decided to drive me to class and wait out in the car (have I mentioned that we only have one working car? Because that is still the case… as it turns out, it’s difficult to go car shopping AND deal with finals in the same mental space/time continuum) while I was in the workshop that would never end, so I was spared the always stressful Thursday night drive home, plus I got to chat with him and unpack everything that had happened throughout the week.

We had very little free time beyond that — on Friday, I had a programming meeting for the book festival I’m working on, and then after that, we went car shopping, and then again on Saturday, more car shopping with a brief break to see Star Wars, combined with still recovering from the hell cold that ate Las Vegas. When we had energy, we were cleaning, since we were expecting three house guests on Sunday, and to be honest, we live like farm animals when I’m in school, apparently, as I’m scatterbrained and ridiculous most of the time.

And maybe that’s it… I’ve been juggling about 70-80 hours a week of emotional and mental workload for sixteen weeks solid and I had a serious freakout about potentially getting anything less than an A in my classes, because if you get two Bs, you’re basically kicked out of the program completely and then I would have uplifted our lives for nothing and also failed to fulfill this incredible gift of free grad school tuition plus a pretty fun job. So that would have super sucked if I fucked all of that up because I chose to sleep instead of writing a cogent paper on Jane Austen’s interior feminist motives.

And that, dear reader, is the ever present theme of this blog: Wendy continues to be her own worst enemy and beating herself up for failures that haven’t even happened but could, damn it, could happen.

I’m working on that. I really am.



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  1. Okay 1. Somewhere in Plymouth. 2. Errr the Laconia? 3. The Laconia II?

    Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink
  2. I forgot 4. He was in trade. He traded…. things.

    Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  3. And congrats on those fancy A’s! I have the same issue in my life and my therapist usually laughs at me and then because he’s a Freudian he blames my parents.

    Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

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