Alarmists

Are you ready for a food post? You should be. It’s not going to happen right now. But soon! It’s been a little less than a month since school has started, and I haven’t really had a food crises, which means by and large I’ve been fed and happy (or if not happy, full and not without energy… even if mentally I feel otherwise).
Anyway, I definitely appreciated the few comments and “likes” I received on the previous post (and all of my posts, for that matter!), and I feel like I’m still on this kick. It’s easy for us to criticize something when we have lived it or are still “of it.” Some people may not realize they’re up in it when they are, while others have worked their way through “it” and are speaking in retrospect. I feel as though I’m doing a bit of both.

From a grad student’s perspective, the things that undergrads are going through are no big deal… which is as it should be, considering you’ve made it to grad school. That said, I think people perceive grad school as far different from undergrad, and I think this perception gets us trapped pretty damn quickly. There can be huge differences, especially if you’re attending an entirely new school and perhaps one that is far different from your undergrad institution, or starting a new major, or living in a new state or country; but by and large, the PROCESS of school is much the same. And, more is expected of you because YOU ARE CAPABLE. That doesn’t mean that things don’t get out of hand at times, but that’s apropos of my last post–it’s just not the end of the world, ya’ know?

The problem comes when all a person does is complain, and every obstacle becomes something to ring the alarm over. All you’re doing is raising your own heart rate and those around you, but you’re not actually sticking it to the man, being productive, or even getting anyone to empathize with you. It is worthless. School is NOT the hardest thing you will ever go through in life, nor should it be. It IS hard now, but at least you have the choice. So while everything may piss you off, and your professors are being unempathetic, and your schoolmates are obnoxious and there’s not enough alcohol on the face of the earth to make you relax…. this is really all your doing.

Perception is everything, and I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anyone reading this, but I’m consistently reminded of this fact. It’s a call to deal with what we can change and to be aware of what we can’t, why we can’t change it, and how we are going to face and accept it (hopefully with grace, and maybe someday a smile).

I love having my cats around, because while I can tell they enjoy certain things in their lives and have their habits just as I do, their greatest impulse is simply to stay alive. The things that allow them to do so are basic and yet so important. I also love that most animals don’t “talk” before they observe. I could seriously watch them for hours when they go outside and just explore in the back yard or when they sit on the porch with me and examine everything that flies by or walks by or drives by. I love that Noonan just crawled into my lap because it’s a better place for a cat than a lap top. Fair enough. And it’s hard to type when he’s resting his head on my hand (for the record). But I digress a little…

Point being, shut up for a second before you sound the alarm. Observe. Calm down. Stay mad, agitated, whatever, but just shut up for a bit. There’s no need to swap war stories all of the time. We all have them. It ain’t nothing new. Save them for you best friend and a glass of wine, or whatever you prefer. Keep it out of your work space. Work diligently until you come to a point when something is finished or when you realize your technique has to change. Both are good. Both are part of the process.
Now for something beautiful:

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