It's finals week, and I've just uploaded my second-to-last paper. I've spent the majority of my days just writing the past couple weeks and it hit me....
If some ambassador from the future had told ten-year-old me that "One day, when you grow up, you're still going to be in school. You're going to get paid to go to school, and you'll get to study whatever you want. You'll spend most of your time reading and writing about things you choose yourself and think are important" I probably would have thought this was a pretty great deal.
And it is...at least the part of the time when you're not completely malnourished (since you haven't had time to make it to the grocery store) exhausted (since you have bizarre nightmares every time you sleep) and crazy (due to the malnourishment, exhaustion, and stress).
I don't even know what to say about this semester. It's been hard. Starting a marriage, starting a a doctorate, and starting life as someone with an autoimmune disorder- that's too many new beginnings at once. The doctorate and the marriage have been much easier transitions than the autoimmune disorder. It's been hard...and by many standards I haven't performed as you would hope a first year doctoral student would(on the other hand, I have 3 out of 4 committee members lined up, and I've already had one "I don't know where my dissertation is going" meltdown). There have been outstanding moments, as I've rocked a midterm, written a stellar essay on disparities in infant mortality, delivered a dazzling presentation on public health leadership in an emergency, and hammered out the first draft of a manuscript. It's becoming apparent that being sick doesn't mean that I can't do good work. That's the biggest lesson I'm taking away from this semester - in spite of everything, I am still competent. I hate the demands Crohn's makes on me (I know, it's silly that taking medicine three times a day makes me angry,I get unreasonably perturbed every time I choose not to order my favorite sandwich on a whole grain bagel, and there are days I'm convinced that my GI's goal is to make my life miserable). But at the end of the day....I am still me, and I still have every ounce of skill and passion I've always had. This is very good news.