Jokes aside, it has been a time. Graduate school was two years of agony, burnout, as well as fun. Then COVID-19 was the crescendo of crap, my graduation literally occurring peak pandemic. This is a post about getting through the perfect shitstorm, so if you’re not into that kind of stuff, wait for my next post (I promise it won’t take 84 years).
The first year of graduate school was brutal. I worked 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 8 months straight. It was a rough transition, and a drag-your-heels-until-they-bleed finish.
I know there are a lot of people that don’t have a choice but live this lifestyle (if you can call it that). I want to acknowledge (before I continue to whine) that for me it was a choice. An incredibly privileged choice, I might add. Even though it was tough, I’m still grateful for it.
I spent the summer between first and second year working a paid internship. It was a brief reprieve from school, and it was fun! The thing is, I had many grandiose plans about getting my blog and social media going again. But the burnout was real, and my living situation was stressful. I spent most of my summer drinking.
Second year, I worked two jobs, attended classes and wrote a thesis. Writing a thesis was challenging, because it is a totally different style of writing from creative writing. But I learned a lot, and once more, I’m grateful I had the opportunity to do so.
Then bam, middle of March comes, and I’m in lockdown. My mental health took a nosedive. I was already in a state of burnout, running on fumes, coffee, liquor and aggressive sports to unleash pent-up stress. I barely slept, maybe 4-6 hours a night, and all the intense working out riddled with an unhealthy lifestyle caught up to me.
My foot went first. I couldn’t walk for two weeks with a sprained ankle. I didn’t even realize it happened until I tried to walk to work the next day. Then my back – one herniated disk, three dislocated ribs. All I did was stretch in the morning. It’s crazy what stress can do you to your body.
The good thing about lockdown was I didn’t have to walk anymore, so a buggered foot didn’t matter. The bad thing was I sat constantly, making my back worse. On top of everything, it felt like the world was ending, I was still on the hook for all my assignments and my thesis, and I had two jobs to wrap up. Worse yet, we had a death in the family. I’m not going to be pompous and try to be eloquent. It fucking sucked.
I would love to say “I don’t know how I survived, but I pulled through, wow, I did it.” *Cue dreamy smile shot behind an inspirational backdrop like a sunset or waterfall or some shit.* Haha. No.
I drank. I drank almost every single day without fail. I would not recommend this approach. It was expensive and in the long-run, more taxing on my mental health than the alternative.
I finished everything pertaining to grad school in May, and I begin my new job in September, which gave me four months to do whatever I wanted. I remember thinking I have four months to write a book, make it perfect, publish it, and get my social media going! Wow-ee! BUCKLE UP!
Low and behold, I spent all of May drunk. Yes, all of May. My back went out in June, so that kept me sober, so I did a lot of writing then, but lockdown was lifted and July was boozy once more.
Somewhere amidst all that insanity, I thought to myself: why am I doing this? I talked to an old friend recently about everything, and something clicked. It has to stop. Maybe I finally recovered from the burnout. At least, enough to start writing my blog again. Or maybe when one does nothing but party, they realize it gets old fast.
I don’t know. I’m not going to over-analyze it. I’m just going to write this blog post, edit it, post it, and do the same again soon. And I’m going to get my social media active again. And I’m going to keep writing, even if it’s a trash 100 words a day, even if they’re excruciating, even if it takes everything I have that day to do it, because writing is better than booze, it’s better than over-exercising, and it’s one of the few things that genuinely makes me happy.