At many points during these last 16 weeks, I felt like the semester was never going to end. I took 4 classes, worked 10 hours a week, applied to 40-something summer internships and tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle (sleeping well and eating well). Well, If you follow me on twitter you probably see my tweets at 2 or 3 AM (even 6:30 AM at some points) just leaving the graduate lounge… so sleeping “well” eventually just meant getting any amount of sleep at all.
This semester was more than rigorous it hurt. I’ve never been through anything like this before. Unfortunately, when going through tough periods in school, the rest of your life doesn’t stop. No, the rest of your life continues at the same pace, and maybe because of the stress, it seems to speed up just a little so that you feel like there’s another thing on the pile of stuff that you can’t control. So, you have to weight the options—Which pile of chaos can I control and get the most benefit out of? This usually ends in favoring schoolwork since the easy-to-measure factor: grades, are going to “signal” my level of understanding, and perhaps mastery in the subject. Meanwhile, being a good girlfriend, good daughter, good sister, or good friend doesn’t give me any measureable utility. [Oh god, how did I end up in this tangent? Apologies.]
I just wanted to take this writing moment to say that I’m truly sorry for pushing you guys to the side this semester and this year. It hasn’t been easy and I wish I could do a billion things at once and be good at all of them, but we all know life doesn’t work that way. And even though I’m super busy and a bit grouchy (due to sleeplessness), please know that I do care about you (bf, family, friends). After all, this program would be a thousand times more difficult without your constant support and helpful words.
I know that graduate school is supposed to be testing, but it’s so much more… it made me experience self-doubt and confusion, and at some points I felt like I just “lost” the will to continue studying or working. But still, I pushed through, with the help of my best friend here, people back home and with my own reminders about how finishing this would mean so much more than quitting.
And I did it. Success. 7 classes down and only 3 courses left, and I’ll be a lady with a Master of Arts degree in Economics. How cool is that? I can’t believe how fast the last 8 months have gone by and I can’t believe all I’ve gone through. I’ve only been done with classes for 2 days, but already forgetting the painful stuff (all of my #gradstudentproblem posts are rapidly fading away). It’s funny what a few good nights of sleep have done for me. I’m clear headed, happy, and feel at peace. I’m happy I chose Duke and I’m happy I chose economics. I’m happy I stuck through and I’m happy that everyone I love, loves me back and understands why I’m doing this.
See you three months from now, Duke. Gotta fly home to California then DC. Because, guess what? You’ve given me the chance to intern at the Fed.