How I Am Doing In the Third Week of Class

This email has been heavily adapted from an email I sent to a friend. I realized while writing her I was being a lot more honest with her than I was being with the blog, so I decided to cut and paste a bit to up the “4 real” level in here.

The need for a mental health day always comes in the first two weeks of the semester. Mine was Tuesday. I missed my first class and was a hair late for my second.

I woke at a decent hour, ate, fed the cats and on the way to the shower had a sudden wave of nausea and tiredness that was too much to fight. I just went back to bed.

I was beat this past Monday too but when I went to the meeting of the Blue Banner staff (college paper I am writing for again) the energy in the room really picked me up, just being near news and good work made me feel alive again. I am working with a young editor I like and admire, one of only two friends at the college who is actually college-age.

Jon is one of the few young people who can see me as a person, not as someone freakishly old and wildly different.

It has always bummed me out to be treated strangely by students. Not that it makes me feel old. It doesn’t. I’m not old. It bums me out because I want to be their friend and am treated like I leave school to go hang-gliding and hang out with my 19 Pakistani husbands, not to go home and do homework, try to keep my social life alive, collapse on the couch in an exhausted heap JUST LIKE THEM.

I live just like you, don’t you see? But they don’t.

I am writing about Parkside for my first news story! Cool, huh? What do you do with a news story that keeps developing and won’t sit still??? (And may have just died?) I get to find out…

But I am tired a lot lately, worried about the student loans I am taking out, saddened and concerned about the dip in my freelancing income and still very disappointed over the loss of my first scriptwriting internship, which was just what I wanted and needed. I am STILL bummed over that.

But this new retooled science outreach internship lets me set my own hours and work on the campus, and YOU CAN’T BEAT THAT. And I frankly ADORE all the people I work with at NEMAC. And while I am used to moving quickly in the direction of my ambitions I am still an absolute beginner in science scriptwriting and probably need to be kinder to myself over not yet taking over for David Attenborough.

I am transitioning my focus, and that always means going back to square one in some ways. It takes years to be successful, I have little experience, and while I am going gray and really ready to be closer to my dreams, I am still just an undergrad.

I just felt in May that everything was coming together — money, career, maybe even health — and now I feel it is all falling apart and I have neither time nor money to see to it all.

It takes energy to find out why you have no energy, you know? I have not had a proper typical, high-energy, gamma-ray-blast nuclear-fueled day in months, or felt pretty or energetic or hopeful. My feet and back constantly hurt, I am plagued by weird things like dizziness and nausea, and I feel like a heavy, logy, tired and unattractive old woman. Unimpressive and not exactly in demand.

It’s not ALL bad though. It never is…

I am working hard with my new friend Gordon Smith of one of my favorite blogs, Scrutiny Hooligans, getting food and drink for the big Asheville blogger party next month. I am really enjoying helping out with this year’s big downtown blog blast (doing double duty by getting donations AND doing graphics), and I truly welcome such an excellent new friend.

And I am in a Subramaniam class again, hooray! I am taking his Democracy In Asia class, and he is just back from his homeworld of Malaysia, researching there for his book on Malaysian politics, and the whole class is about Asian politics with Malaysia as a case study. I ask you, how perfect is this?

In a place dotted with teachers-by-default and blowhards with little or no relevant life or work experience and a strong desire to bloviate, there really and truly is a professor whose experience is pertinent, rich and recent. He shows us recent YouTube clips of speeches and translates them from Malay. He has followed and researched Malaysian politics for 14 years.

Plus he is a very good speaker, naturally outgoing and EXTREMELY comfortable talking to a group. He never uses notes, just talks and talks but always actually says something. Plus he is funny and irreverent and really kind of naughty, swears, never condescends, always expects the best from students rather than the worst… I feel like he is the Statue of Liberty and I am one of the huddled masses who has yearned to have one fair, funny, friendly, cool, knowledgeable professor, one per semester will do. Just to keep me going through the long slog that is my 7-year (so far) journey just to have a simple j-school degree.

Truly, it’s the good teachers and the good classes that remind me of why I am in college at 39, plugging away after all this confusion, change and hardship.

Anyway. The hedges await my attentions, groceries do not tumble off the shelves of Amazing Savings and into my pantry (though they should) and a certain tall and beautiful bride needs to be fitted for her red fishnet wedding shrug.

Later gators.

2 responses to “How I Am Doing In the Third Week of Class

  1. you finished the shrug?! Pics….

  2. Girl I finished it this afternoon, ONE DAY before the wedding and with no final fitting of the bride! Pics for sure. She is gonna be beautiful.

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