Endings and Beginnings

I’ve been waxing nostalgic more than I’d like to admit lately. When you’re in the midst of grad school, you don’t spend much time thinking about how you might miss it all when it’s gone – how you’ll miss seeing the people and talking to them regularly, miss the institution itself, and even (on occasion) miss the reading and the writing.

There were plenty of freak-out moments in the last couple of years, the “ohmigod I am SO not ready for the job market!” variety or the “I’ll never get this dissertation written!” ordeals. (Let’s face it: melodrama is a huge part of acquiring a PhD!) But then, almost too suddenly, after months and years of writing and research and revisions – it was over. The past month has been a bit of a shock to my system as I’ve begun to really process what the coming months will be like and what it means to be done with the PhD.

I feel like I’m in a good place, though. While there have been moments of wistfulness and panic over how I won’t see certain people very often, the fact is that I’m ready to move on. It’s just that moving on from six years of graduate school and starting the next phase of things takes time.

So what comes next? There’s graduation this Friday, of course, followed by some relaxation for a few weeks and a trip to the Berkshires Conference on Women in western Massachusetts in early June. Pending enrollment, I’ll teach a five-week summer course (War and the American Century). I’ll spend a weekend in New York City for a friend’s wedding this July, and help my younger sister celebrate her own upcoming wedding with a weekend of fun here in St. Louis.

And then in August, I start over someplace new. In mid-April, I accepted what had become my dream job: a teaching position at a local independent school. This fall, I will be an Upper School Humanities Teacher, which means I’ll get to teach History and English courses to students in grades 9-12.

How I came to this position and how it became my dream job is a story for another day, but it was probably one of the most exciting developments of my life this spring. If finishing graduate school has made me more reflective than I thought, looking forward to my new career in this position has made me excited to see what’s to come.

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