And That’s It.

That’s all. I’m done with my first year of graduate school and my first year of teaching. Just submitted grades and emailed my students to let them know their papers are in my box if they want to pick them up. (Will they pick up their papers? Probably not. But just in case . . . I spent fifteen hours grading and commenting on them. No big deal.)

I’m tired.

The thing is. This has been the hardest year. (I measure years by school years, FYI.) And not just because of graduate school stress stress stress and passive aggressive students and mean students and apathetic students. But because of this year’s paradigm shift.

I mean, I’ve had paradigm shifts before–you know, like enlightenments. But this year’s paradigm shift feels less like an enlightenment and more like an en-darken-ment. Perhaps this is normal? Perhaps this is part of growing?

Sometimes I’m afraid of God and not in the “God-fearing Christian” kind of way. In the, “I’m afraid of what You think I can handle, or what my brother can handle, or my mom, or my dad, or my friends or anyone can handle, and Can You take all the dark parts of life, of me, away?”

It’s a weird feeling, feeling like God might break your heart. Or even worse, that that’s just life and God has little to do with it. I want to believe He has something to do with it so it’s all worth something in the end.

One time God promised me He would never do anything to crush me or destroy me. I thought, “Interesting choice of words . . . .” He’s kept his promise (even though I haven’t been the most grateful this year. He knows this. I’ve been confused, you know, mixing up blessings and cursings). I mean, I’m still here, beating, blinking, sipping cranberry juice through a straw. There’s something strangely beautiful about that–about me being still here.

Of course none of this makes sense and I’m talking in abstracts and obscurely. I guess what I want to say is. This has been a hard year and I wish I could have handled a lot of it better, but. I learned a lot. You know, the brain, heart, nerve, and gut kind of learning. I guess that’s the point.


5 Replies to “And That’s It.”

  1. Graduate school either ruins people completely (especially if they are not mentally and spiritually tough) or it makes them amazing. In the Elder Holland kind of way. I hope the latter is true for you. :)

  2. Paul and I were talking about how crap happens and it serves to make us realize certain things about ourselves and what we can do and will be able to do as our lives change and how that really is beautiful and inspired in an exhausting, frustrating, angry sort of way. And then without fail I find someone else who has it worse than my family, my friends, or myself and I’m deeply humbled by how much I have personally. I mean just look at Ryan and the relationship you have with him. Whenever I do that with Paul I’m struck with awe at how lucky I am and everything else seems less important.

    Proud of you Tara for going through Grad School–what an accomplishment.

  3. Congratulations on finishing this year! Both you and Ryan are really awesome and I miss y’all already! Hope you both are doing well and that y’all conquer whatever comes your way!

  4. Dear Tara,

    When I finished my first year of grad school I felt ABSOLUTELY the same feeling you express here. I swear. It’s very weird to read it from someone else when you thought you were the only one.

    Congratulations on surviving.

    My keenest memory from my first year of grad school was riding the bus to one of my lectures about 3/4ths of the way through the year (which year, incidentally, was accompanied by a broken heart that stretched all the way back to Utah and three– count em– THREE part time jobs to make ends’ meet). It was rainy, of course. And as I sat there and tried to banish _ _ _ _ _’s face from my mind for the 1,000th time, I felt, more distinctly than I have in my whole life, that Jesus Christ was sitting in the empty seat on the bus next to me. Effectively, invisibly, holding my hand. And I knew the darkness would pass. I remember that day, that feeling, still, when times are tough. And I remember how I went on to battle my way through that damn historiography class, and fudged a decent grade in my American Mural Art class. And it’s gotten better from there.

    Good luck next year. We’re the type that are going to succeed, and Heavenly Father knows it. And he’s cheering for us. Helping us along step by step.


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