Blowing off Steam

by Anna Blanch on May 18, 2008

It’s been a week of contrasts. As students and their parents bring in U-Hauls to move their worldly possessions back to the far reaches of Texas (usually)…. those of use who are staying around exist in a different dimension. The existence beyond being an undergraduate is different in any case. The grading of papers and submitting grades is different in kind to the harrowing experience of 5 exams in three days but not so much in degree. I wonder how many undergraduates seriously think about the professor who has to grade those exams – surviving on little more than chunky peanut butter and water for three days to do it.

There’s been numerous farewells and celebrations – variously happy and morose. Opportunities to spend time with individuals in a different context. Positions and labels melt away, as they should, to reveal the exhaustion and relief from stress that has marked the last couple of months.

It’s led me to ponder my own travels in the last 12 months and what it is like, for a change, to be the one staying rather than the one leaving. I have to admit that it is kind of sobering. Change is something i’ve grown accustomed to, but usually the one doing the change is me rather than the change happening to me. Its been reaffirmed many times that I am a world away from my former life. Not just Australia but Law, country NSW, Australian politics and current events and my suburban Canberran existence. I’m enjoying seeing new sides to waco and to Texas and i am enjoying the new people i am meeting along the way. It’s a good thing to collide with others, to hear their point of view and to reflect on why it is that you hold your own. It is a very good thing.

As for a confession – I’ve had some trouble winding down in the last few days! I realised that my life, including my apartment and my schedule were all designed around work! This should be a good thing – optimum levels of work being done….but, it has made it hard to relax. And my body clock which wants to wake me up at 6:30am whether i want to or not. My solution: Get out of my apartment and spend time with people…and have a little fun. I’ve been hanging out with the Australians, some of the few Graduate student girls left in Waco and new people i’ve met along the way.

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