Dispatches from Graduate School – Part 25

Cali Pitchel McCullough is a Ph.D student in American history at Arizona State University. For earlier posts in this series click here. –JF

[Taken directly from *The Way of Improvement Leads Home*]

This is not the time for me to run out of steam. Just last week I wrote how the cruise gave me the R&R I needed to make it though the end of the semester. But my 7-day foray into the Western Caribbean only provided me with enough steam to write a draft of a 30-page seminar paper—which I finished on Tuesday. That was pretty early in the week to burnout. Not once, but twice this week, I ’ve fallen asleep reading books. The first, Badger’s New Deal, put me out for two solid hours. Today, Sunset Limited by Richard Orsi gave me the impetus for a forty-five minute power nap, which sadly resulted in no extra energy. I better pick things up soon.

I still have six weeks until the end of the semester. Six weeks can be translated in two ways. First, it’s only six weeks. The second week of May will come quickly. I have a seminar paper to finish, two historiographical essays to compose, four book reviews/critiques to write, and about twenty-five books to read. Or, six weeks is an eternity. I have plenty of time to complete my work—too much time, perhaps. Right now, six weeks oddly feels like both: so close, yet so far away. Honestly, I just want the semester to be over. While Quinn indulges in March Madness and season five of Dexter, it’s very easy to imagine a different life. But, despite the ease with which I can drift into creating an alternative journey, one that includes a nine to five job, reading for pleasure, dinner at nice restaurants without emotional breakdowns, and guilt-free television sessions, I need to keep in mind (again and again) why I do this and that one day I will be doing what I love for a living.

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