My first official mental breakdown of grad school has happened. And it happened in front of my entire class.
On Monday we presented our “Community Organization Profiles” that we’d worked on with our partners, and were now letting our class know all about the services, etc.. the organization we profiled had to offer the early childcare community. My partner and I had thoroughly researched and visited the facility, so we were both well versed in everything there was to know about early childcare at Erie House.
The presentation was going to be a breeze, right?
Since our class is three hours long, we always break in the middle. My partner and I decided to present right after the break. Unfortunately for me, the entire class break was spent talking about how next quarter we were going to have to do a 75 hour internship, on top of our two classes, and I got all “excuuuuuse me?” cause it pretty much sounded impossible to accomplish while having a full time job. And I can’t stop working because I have a (dog) daughter to support! Not to mention rent, groceries, and alcohol to pay for.
This all reminds me I need to email my professor and beg for their mercy in allowing me to figure out some way to do all of those requirements while also not becoming homeless.
So the conversation about the next hellish quarter ends, after our teacher reassures us that, yeah, it’s gonna be hell, and now it’s my groups turn to present.
Oh, ok, great. If I wasn’t nervous about the presentation before I now am nervous about my ability to survive graduate school.
The presentation starts out fine, my partner introduces the organization and talks about the logistics of their mission, etc.. Then it’s my turn to talk about class size, facilities, the community, etc.. Unfortunately one of the things I talk about is the education requirements of the teachers at the center, some of which do not require a teaching certificate. In my traditional way of handling panic, I begin babbling sarcastic crazy jokes, such as:
“Hey, for this class you don’t need a degree so if you’re dropping out like I am you can still do that!”
“There’s plenty of job opportunities for people who can’t finish grad school, lol lol lol”
And on and on.
Thankfully people were laughing, at me, not with me, but regardless they were laughing. My teacher at one point felt the need to reassure the class that I was totally kidding. Which I may not have been.
I still haven’t had time to figure out just how stressed out I am about the whole thing because I have a midterm tonight and I am FREAKING OUT.
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You know how people tell you that you won’t know what it’s like to have a baby until you have one of your own? Well, that same sentiment is true for dog parenthood as well.
I’ve grown up with dogs in my parents house, and have dog sat in my adult life, so I was all “I’ve totally got this.” Turns out when the little creature is yours, the anxiety flies through the roof.
“Am I feeding her the right food?”
“Does my house smell like dog?”
“Where is she!?”
Two weeks or so after we got her I took her the dog beach, which she loved. However, the next day she was itching like crazy and just generally acting like a maniac and it turns out she’d contracted a pretty severe bug bite and the vet had to shave part of her back and she was on medication for the next two weeks. Said medicine also had the effect of making her have to pee at pretty much all times, so it was a fun recovery period for everyone in the house.
Begin stage one of “you’re the worst dog mom ever” mindset.
A week or so after the medication stopped, she was still peeing everywhere like a maniac so I tried restricting her water. Which only led to her drinking out of my water glass whenever I wasn’t looking.
This Saturday I took her to her obedience class where she promptly peed and pooped in front of the entire class.
Stage two of “you’re the worst dog mom ever” is now initiated.
Her public shaming led me to believe that either she gave zero fucks or something was wrong, so I took her to the vet.
Turns out she has a UTI!
Third stage of dog mom guilt is in full effect.
The vet wanted to make sure it was just a UTI so she took her in back and extracted some urine, which sounds like the most disgusting process ever. Before our visit, I had attempted to catch my own urine sample to bring in by quickly shoving a small tupperware container under her crotch when she peed and managed to collect about a teaspoons worth.
Neighborhood cuties, come and get me!
The vet decided to double check the urine and had it sent out to a lab, which lead to my getting a call yesterday morning as I’m trying to feed not only the baby I nanny for but also myself, and the vet lets me know that she has “crystals in her urine”. This could mean potentially needing to change her entire diet, depending on how she reacts to the medicine.
If you’re keeping track, she’s spent more time on medicine than not while under my care.
The cycle of dog mom guilt is now complete and I am living in complete stress mode.
Also, how the fuck am I going to parent a real human child.
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It’s a pretty big duh that I’d be using my brain in a much more active way when I started school, since I’ve pretty much had it on autopilot since graduating undergrad. Thankfully I still know how to read, so that’s a good start, because believe it or not being in grad school means a lot of reading pretty much all the time.
Unfortunately, while my brain can still read, it cannot remember to do anything else. It seems that in order for my brain to be on the top of it’s game at school, it needs to be off the rest of the time.
Being a nanny, you’d think it wouldn’t be that bad, all babies need is some gibberish thrown their way, right?
Since the the boys are getting older they’re starting to point at things and work on saying real words, and my using these said “real words” has become more vital. Now that I think about it, I should probably stop referring to them as “shmoopie” and “goober”.
Besides having to reteach myself English, I’ve also had to stop forgetting everything everywhere.
Every day since starting school I’ve yelled, “Oh shit,” halfway home and had to turn back and get things I’ve forgotten at work.
Keys, textbook, computer, phone, sweatshirt, etc.. I’ve begun only returning on time sensitive items and just saying fuck it with items that I won’t really need until the next day. As you can see from the list I provided, though, most of the items I forget are things I’ll indeed need pretty much as soon as I get home.
This walking back and forth has become how I exercise. I got to add weights to this exercise when I carried home the weeks worth of tupperware I’d left at work the week before.
I spent 20 minutes of Saturday looking for my keys, only to have them handed to me by Anika who I’d let borrow them.
Pray for me.
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Guys, I like school. This pessimistic creative writer who couldn’t wait to graduate college and never have to look at another text book is really and truly enjoying school. I actually want to do the readings, I get excited for class, and, wait a minute, I feel compelled to participate in classroom discussions.
Is this what being in a functional relationship feels like?
Now I don’t want to come off as though I don’t enjoy learning. Anyone who consistently reads my posts knows how much I enjoy making mistakes and learning from them. And then making that mistake over and over until really my only choice is to learn from it, for real.
Cough cough drunk texting cough cough.
School for me has never been something I’ve felt, prior to this point, compelled to jump into. Sure, my creative writing workshops and some other courses were incredible and interesting, but for the most part I’ve always enjoyed learning things in a less formal fashion. It makes me wonder if I’m too much of a control freak to let other people teach me things, but that’s another blog altogether.
What’s different this time? Why am I suddenly interested in reading the full chapters rather than brushing over the words and ingesting only the titles of paragraphs? Am I mature now?
I hope the answer to all three of those questions is that yes, I have actually made a leap into adulthood. I am also praying that this excitement isn’t simply my body running on adrenaline and then in two weeks I’ll be all “lol jk nvm bye DePaul”.
That being said, I think running on adrenaline would mean that I would hop out of bed in the morning, which is certainly not the case for me. Most mornings consist of me sobbing at my alarm to stop going off and the dog staring at me like, “Get up you lazy asshole I have to pee.”
There is one aspect of this whole grad school thing that I am already not looking forward to, however, and that’s my having to take the “Test of Academic Proficiency” in November. This is a test that all those looking to go into the field of teaching children have to take, because if you’re gonna attempt to teach them shit you should know shit. Unfortunately for me, the creators of this test remembered that young kids need to know math and science and other topics useless to a former English major who grew up in the City of Chicago. This means I will have to relearn everything about biology, chemistry, physics and all those god damn math equations I’ve been trying to erase with alcohol for the past three years.
Can a girl get a calculator?
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Since DePaul is on quarters, a system I am still extremely confused by, so my first day of classes is today. That’s right, today. I am no longer “going to start grad school” I am fucking starting grad school and it’s fucking crazy.
Yes, I am definitely excited, but am I nervous too?
To make matters more interesting, and stressful, as is the routine in my life, the last few days have been less than smooth sailing.
Sunday I went for an incredible bike ride in perfect weather and was all “What a perfect way to start the week! This is gonna be a great quarter, can’t wait for school to start, etc.. etc..”
The next day I’m feelin’ the usual Monday blues; tired, achey, hungry. Which are really the three things I feel most days, turned up or down a notch. But this Monday, around noon, I start to feel nauseous. I attribute it to nerves since I am supposed to go to orientation the next day. I get home from work, do my usual routine of making dinner, working out, and then trying not to eat all the snacks in the house as “dessert”. I’m still feeling pretty nauseous so I decide to cut down my snacking and go to sleep. Then I wake up at midnight to barf and am all like “damn, I am really nervous about starting school.” After I stay awake all night eliminating everything from my body and have to crawl up the stairs and walk the dog hunched over like Quasimodo, I realize I might be nervous but I also definitely have food poisoning.
I call my nanny family right away and let them know that I am basically immobile and vomiting, which means I won’t be able to come into work, but offer up my mother because I thought she didn’t have to go into work until 5pm. Turns out I was wrong, but it didn’t matter because she was also home after having to run off the train and puke into a CTA garbage bag.
Pretty grateful I did not have to experience any of my sickness publicly.
Her and I got the same food at brunch on Sunday so we can pretty much 100% confirm this is food poisoning. Yippee!!
Now not only do I miss work, for the first time since starting this job, but I also miss orientation. I can only assume this means I will be the outcast of the Early Childhood Education program, but let’s be honest, that was bound to happen anyway.
I’m not so good at the making of new friends.
Thankfully my food poisoning nausea has subsided and now only my nervous nausea remains, which means I only have a 50% chance of puking on arrival to class rather than 100% chance.
Here goes nothin’!
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Let me just start by dedicating this post to all the hard working people in our country that did not get a four day weekend, or even a one day weekend, because they are overworked and underpaid. Also, a big shout out to my best friend, and hero, Hannah Joravsky over there in Los Angeles not getting any days off because she’s busy helping the overworked masses demand better working conditions and a living wage.
Now the details on my frivolous weekend:
Friday, a group of us decided to try out Big Star, a place that can only be described as bougie mexican, in Wicker Park. When we arrive they say there’s a slight wait and so the hostess asked for my number and said she’d text when our table was ready. I spent a portion of the wait time wondering if they were really going to text me, because apparently me and Big Star are dating.
It turns out, unlike most of my dates, the hostess did text us about 15 minutes later and we sat down to begin our experience. The basis of this experience being that none of us could hear each other. The lack of communication turned out to be ok after a few tacos and drinks, because it was so hot all I could focus on was not melting. Overall it was “eh”.
However I continued to drink throughout the day and by 9pm couldn’t figure out how it wasn’t actually 2am. My roommates and I decided to walk to Cleos, a bar not far from us. Unfortunately for me it was also “Chicago Ave. After Dark” meaning shops were open and I could drunkenly wander into one and buy something. Thankfully I exhibited self control on this front, unfortunately a few hours later my lack of restraint shined through when I left the bar alone to get a happy meal.
Saturday I hung out with my dog most of the day at the dog park, where an eight year old and I had a conversation about dog breeds and his future for about 45 minutes. I then decided that I should interact with something both my age and species, so I went home. Some people came over and then we wandered to another neighborhood bar, Happy Village.
Comfort zones are hot right now.
I yet again decided that I was hungry and left the bar to acquire some Mexican food. It was a nice compliment to the Mexican food I would get about seven hours later for “brunch”.
Later Sunday I got to hang with my mom for her birthday and gorge myself in french food at Mon Ami Gabi.
The best part of Sunday, though, was stopping to realize that I had yet another day off. This was my Christmas.
Monday got real Labor Dayie with a bbq at the beach where after eating a lot of dip and meatballs, I ended up spending most of my time at the dog beach with Belle. While there she decided to show me, and the entire beach population, how fast she was by sprinting down the shore, out of the dog beach and onto the people beach, before turning around and sprinting back to the dog beach, all in the time it took me to run twenty feet. I apparently adopted both a dog and a personal trainer. Cha-ching.
Bring it on, Fall.
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The past few days have been dog-centric, terrifying, and emotional.
Saturday, I adopt the most perfect dog on the planet. Shes two years old, doesn’t bark, loves everyone and is just generally adorable. My roommates and I spent the rest of the weekend falling/being in love with her all over our neighborhood.
Meet Belle, my new baby girl.
Her and I had quite the interaction with a drunk man who I should not have let pet her. It was Saturday night around 8, I myself am a little drunk and decide to take Belle out to do her business before more people start arriving at our place. A block into it the drunk man I mentioned before stops to pet her and then asks me what her name is. When I tell him it’s Belle he aggressively responds, “One syllable? Really?” to which I respond, “Yeah” while really want to respond, “Yes fuck you, you’re alone and drunk at 8pm please go away right now because you have probably killed a living organism in your life.” After this little exchange Belle and I go to make our exit and as the drunk man stumbles to wherever he’s off to terrorize next, he shouts from 1 foot away, “Get your dog a new fucking name!”
Run, Belle, Run!
Monday night, Belle and I get back from a walk and I see that Jennifer, the dog sitter who is watching Luna, my parents dog who is somewhere in the range of 100-200 years old, had a seizure. My parents are in northern Michigan, hence the dog sitter, and are therefore totally unreachable at 10pm. So, Jennifer and I take off to the doggie ER with an extremely limited knowledge of the specifics of Luna’s medical history. Pretty much every question I’m asked gets a response of, “Uhm, I’m not sure. But I know some stuff has happened to her, you know she’s old, so probably everything has? I don’t know I’m sorry where’s my mommy.” I decided to check Luna into the hospital overnight so that 1) They could run necessary blood work and then talk to my parents directly about what was going on and 2) I could go home and go to sleep without worrying about her. I say goodnight to my grandma dog and then as I take a right onto the street one block from my home the police pull me over.
OH OK SO THAT’S HOW TONIGHT IS GONNA END
Turns out my parents car that I am driving for the first time in months don’t have working headlights. Luckily I react so pathetically to being pulled over the policeman take pity on my cause and let me off with a warning.
What a nice little cherry on top of a horrifying 4 hours.
Thankfully Luna was able to return home the next day and according to Jennifer has been seeming better than ever, eating properly and begging for treats. She basically pulled the dog equivalent of “Got your ass.”
Though Belle has had some bathroom accidents in the house, she is overall remaining an incredible dog. That is until this morning when she decided to give Anika, Ana and I a heart attack and run full speed out the door and into oncoming traffic on Chicago Ave. Thankfully she can’t pass up a good dog hang and stopped to greet a yorkie whose owner held onto her until we could frantically run over and grab her.
It’s all uphill from here.
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