Student Snippets


Staying Busy and Finding Meaning

I've been wracking my brain this week trying to come up with a good metaphor to compare summer online courses with regular semester ones. The one I keep thinking about is running. Let's say the normal semester course is like running the mile. You know it's going to be four laps around the track and you know you can't sprint the entire time and so you pace yourself, trying to keep your speed steady and saving your energy for a little burst at the end. This online summer course is like running 800 meters. You can still try to pace yourself, but there's not as much distance in this race and so you mostly just run and hope your strength holds out. (I don't actually have any experience with these kinds of races so I apologize if the metaphor doesn't fit.)

There are just two weeks left in my class and today I went and signed my kids up for summer camp at their adorable little preschool. At the beginning of the summer my husband and I decided not to do summer camp so we could save some money, but I've reached the point where I'm willing to throw money at just about anyone who will take my kids for a few hours and show them a good time. Can you put a price on sanity? The thing is, grad school has been tough for our little family. Since I started at Simmons I've become the busiest person in the house and I know that my kids and my husband sometimes feel like they have to compete for my time. Most weeks I feel like I'm being pulled in many different directions by all these different forces demanding a piece of me: my kids, my husband, my house, my friends, my school responsibilities, my church responsibilities, my hobbies and passions, my own self-care needs. Sometimes it feels like a wave about to swallow me and other times like I'm juggling an impossible number of precious things.

Despite the challenges and the ever-present lack of rest for the weary, I know deep down inside that I'm happy. I feel more like myself than I ever have since the birth of my first child. And as my husband loves to remind me: "you like being busy." While I certainly don't enjoy the stress and anxiety and exhaustion, I do enjoy being engaged in acts of learning, progressing, exploring my talents, trying new things, and working toward a meaningful goal. And it would be a lot harder if I didn't love what I do. As I like to tell other moms: everyone needs a "thing."  Be it a hobby, a side-hustle, a guilty pleasure, a community group, political activism, a secret obsession, a social experiment, a new religion...find a thing that you love and make it your own. Life is only worth living if it means something.