Hey gentlereaders. So I kind of disappeared there for a while eh? Yeah, once I developed food poisoning at the beginning of January I figured there was only so much empathy I could ask you folks to feel after the strep Christmas hospital incident, so I just layed low. During my absence, I was having a rough patch in my relationship with Charlottesville. I didn’t feel like I got the break I wanted and being around the family for an extended period always makes me a little angsty. Then one day my roommate pointed out how I was beginning to show some signs of depression. When someone close to you points out something like that, it’s hard to put on the mask again. I broke down on the phone with a friend, and then just decided to do my best to turn things around. I’ve been trying to get out of the house more. I go to movies, I started going to a really great yoga class on Sunday afternoons, I go to the gym almost every day now, I started making some new friends here. Things are still not great, but I’m trying. Even if I’m exploring the world solo, at least I’m no longer moping and staying cooped up in the apartment.
A friend of mine left the program a week or so ago. That bummed me out more than I ever thought it would. Besides my roommate, he was probably my closest friend here. We had all our classes together and for half the semester we were in the same lab. I didn’t get to see him before he left since it happened pretty suddenly – no goodbye. I guess he wasn’t happy here. But, him leaving stirred up a lot of the issues I’m dealing with too. It was like a new path opened up to me that looked pretty seductive. But honestly, I would be miserable at home in Charleston (I can’t go back to being a customer service drone at Kohls, ick) and anywhere I move to I’d be facing these same emotions. The ‘right after college’ time is difficult. My older friends from Penn warned me of this. Unless you are in a big graduate program, meeting people is tough after college. You have to try way harder for smaller rewards. And honestly, the transition they gave us for the program I’m in was non-existent. Just one awkward mumbling of names on the first day and then we all scattered off to our respective laboratories. So not cool.
One of the lab techs today made a comment along the lines of, “You’re in graduate school, you’re supposed to be unhappy.” That kind of pissed me off. I feel like personal happiness should never be postponed. 5+ years of misery is not a fair price to pay for a Ph. D. No one is getting any younger and you should take advantage of the years you are given. I honestly admire anyone with the conviction to make a U-turn in hopes of building a more fulfilling life. It’s something I may have to think of soon. But I’m at least going to give it my all until my masters, because I realize that getting adjusted to young adulthood and a new place is not an easy task.
So these are the downer thoughts that have been swirling around in my head. It’s tough to be an extrovert sometimes. I need so much human contact to feel fulfilled. Science is a lonely world. People had warned me of that before graduate school, but it’s different living it. I know things are going to get better once I feel more secure and adjusted. I have such high expectations for myself. I need to learn to seek help more and take advantage of the scientific community.
Wow, what a ramble, but it feels good to get it out.