The quarter so far has been dreadful. Not only was I ill for an entire week, I'm taking 20 credits and working. To let you know how busy that is, I'll just say that full time for grad students is 10, so I'm taking double what I should be. When I first began college I felt like I had unlimited potential. My grades were stellar, and balancing my course load and my private life were fantastic exercises in time management. I was disciplined, diligent, and dedicated. I felt brilliant and excited about life. I made coals, I plotted a course, and I reached them. Now, however, I feel the complete opposite. It doesn't seem to matter how much time or effort I put into a task, I seem to be left confused, feeling stupid and incompetent, and hating school, work, and myself.
After some reflection, I realized, quite shamefully, that I will not be applying to PhD programs for next fall, and have instead turned my attention to law. I don't know if I will be able to do well enough on the LSAT to make up for my deplorable GPA (though I have legitimate personal reasons for my grades dropping off during the last year of my bachelor's), and I know that I will meet a LOT of resistance from my professors who want me desperately to continue along the path I'm currently on. However, since I first considered applying to law school I've felt liberated and have been too excited to sleep. I feel the way I felt when I first started school: Like I'm in my element.
This is not to say that my current program has been a waste of time, or that I regret it. I don't at all. This program has given me work experience and, more importantly, has allowed me to get my anxiety under control. Two years ago one of my professors suggested I finish my bachelor's and go directly into law school. At the time I couldn't consider it. I'd registered for the LSATs months before meeting with him, but had been forced by circumstances and social anxiety to cancel. How could I possibly have considered going to law school if I wasn't even capable of taking the entrance exam? Now I am changed. I still suffer from anxiety, but it is not severe, and I am able to master it. I know that the more I push myself, the easier it will be.
Thinking about how much anxiety and fear has dictated my life leaves me feeling very sad. But thinking about how much I've changed, and how much I'm capable of, and of what life has to offer me, I feel so excited, so happy, and so hopeful.
Once I get a few administrative tasks taken care of, I will update with details on schools I'm looking at, programs that interest me, and goals I've started setting for myself. Hopefully I will be able to turn the rest of the year into a good experience, using my current program as a launch pad for my future academic career, instead of wasting away in misery and discontent.