I bitched for so long that I wanted to leave Portland and start something fresh and new. Since I didn’t win the lottery, nor did I meet a sugar (suga? I can’t pull that off) daddy…I had to settle for grad school. In a very UNLIKE me fashion, I only applied to one school. I believe in back-up plans and safety because I need a bit of security when it comes to large life decisions. I felt so passionately about one particular program that I couldn’t compromise myself any longer in life, therefore there went all my eggs in one basket. So when I received my acceptance info, I had instant “shock tears” and immediately wanted to throw up, very much “me” and extremely adorable.
I’m outta here PORTLAND!
Now I am two months into a new city and graduate school. I’m at about the mid-point of my first semester and now I can really assess my time thus far. I only have my undergrad experience to pull from but since my memory is foggy at best, I don’t remember some parts of how to “do” school and the life that goes with it. I remember some parallels here and there, but I’m pretty sure I received my undgrad degree by accident. Tons of coffee fueled bullshitting episodes that turned into papers or presentations. Since grad school is a brand new situation, I was nervous to actually study and do work. Gotta change things up to be my age and take this seriously! Shit got real son.
Since I love to compare and contrast, I’ve organized some categories of school-life stuff. What did this look like in Portland during undergrad time, as compared to grad time in San Francisco (sidebar: my mom likes to insert “Rice-A-Roni the San Francisco Treat” any chance she can when we chat on the phone).
Undergraduate: I procrastinated most of the time, skipped class to do work for another class, and finally my “go to” system would be to drink a bucket of coffee and stay up all night to write a paper due the next day which I had 5 weeks to do.
Graduate: The amount of reading that is assigned is CRAZY. It’s like reading the bible every week. And since I’m choosing to be here in order to become a better human, I can’t fuck around, I’m old and I need to care. So I outline my readings and assignments each week and schedule out reading/work times throughout the week so I’m not trying to cram everything the morning before class.
Undergraduate: I think most of the time I hid in corners and never really spoke. I’ve always been super introverted so it was tough to talk a lot, but also I was always lost in a sea of people anyway. Also, skipping class was way easier back in the day. I’d go eat nachos instead.
Graduate: Since I’m in a cohort model of a program, professors know my name, I can’t hide. It still is difficult for me to talk in front of people, but since I HAVE TO SHOW UP AND SPEAK in order to get points, I pepper in my amazing knowledge here and there. I don’t want to over talk because those people are annoying, but I don’t want to be the unabomber kid in the corner.
Undergraduate: I never went to the grocery store. I have no idea how I kept myself alive. I think Subway was my “kitchen.” I ate a lot of random stuff around campus or at my sister’s house. I did the classic Ramen, but then when I could HEAR my heartbeat from all that salt…I had to take a break.
Graduate: I made a conscious decision to change my lifestyle in a new city and also to keep my money in check because this city is EXPENSIVE…EXPENSIVE BUT FUN. I try and go grocery shopping every week and buy essentials. I’ve used pots and pans! I’ve LOOKED UP recipes to feed myself. Who am I?! I chose to buy KALE. WHAT?!?! I do still eat Ramen here and there. But did you know you can make this healthy-ish?!?! Add lemon, cilantro, scallions, and some hot sauce—BOMB!
Undergraduate: My time with my Ford Escort. What a feisty little thing. She was constantly pregnant with fast food wrappers. I was a crazy lazy child and drove everywhere. Plus, Portland rain makes no one want to stroll.
Graduate: My feet and public transportation everywhere I go! My first week here I’m surprised I didn’t collapse. The walking life is REAL. And not only that, walking in this city can be like you’re scaling walls. So my sweat mustache has been part of my “look” here. So thank goodness it’s so progressive here.
Undergraduate: Drinking was part of the college experience! I could drink Thursday through Sunday, drinking whatever was in front of my face. Let’s go to DA CLUB and even wear HEELS! Hangovers were not that gnarly, I could still keep it going. Then I could get back to business and do whatever work I needed to for school.
Graduate: Grabbing a drink post-class is a great stress reliever! A few drinks and chatting about classes and life…SITTING DOWN. Since I am still who I am, I love me a good binge session. A nice bar, that’s my only criteria. But I cannot go out on the weekends and do consecutive days of drinking. I’ve had the worst hangovers while being here. I blame this on age. It hurts, I can’t hang and be a responsible student. An entire day spent in bed hanging onto my pillow pet and drinking pedialyte is not cool for being grown.
There it is! Let’s all pray to RuPaul or whatever you follow in the spiritual sense, and hope I get through this effing program and graduate!