Thursday, March 15, 2012

In like...a Lion!

   Before leaving for Spring break, Regis welcomed the coming of March in a very Pride-esque way.  The first of the month brought wet, heavy snow that caked onto cars and boots and slowed the pace of the often busy college community.  In like a lion, indeed.  Trudging into work that day I realized that I was not alone; students and faculty meandered into College Hall in snow gear and hats, shaking the cold off of them, ready to start another Thursday.  Given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been experiencing, this storm was quite a surprise, but it didn’t seem to slow Regis down one bit. 

As I boarded the Concord Bus headed to Maine at South Station for my week off, I ran through the list of things to do in my head: work on research proposal, flash cards for pharmacology, and a healthcare memo for policy.  Also on the list was walk on the Kennebec Rail Trail with dad, lunch with mom, and sleep, sleep, sleep.  Clearly this week was jam-packed, but I was determined to work hard but also enjoy seeing my friends and family. 
The three hour bus ride to Augusta, Maine was surprisingly fast; I read half of my latest book, The Hunger Games, which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone who has a pulse.  At first I just wanted to see the movie, but couldn’t deal with the guilt of not having given the book a chance.  So I decided to purchase it on my beloved Nook (sorry Kindle folks, Nooks ruleJ), and figured I’d get about 23 pages in before I tossed it aside for a game of Angry Birds.  Instead, I found myself at the middle of the novel, still sitting on the bus as my dad knocked on my window.  I was at my stop already and clearly looking foolish, but I finished half of a book!  I felt super proud of myself.  This is quite a feat for me as I am a very slow reader and tend to get bored easily, especially when the only video playing on the bus is Kung Fu Panda and I am surrounded by small children.  AND, it was not a textbook or article I had to read for my research proposal; quite a refreshing change to my usual student duties.  I added finishing The Hunger Games to my “Spring Break To-Do List” and suggested to my dad we stop at my favorite local pizza shop for lunch.
Spring break unfolded in a similar manner from there.  Days passed as I slept till 8 (joy), leisurely enjoyed morning coffee with my dad, and headed off to the local Panera to work on some school work.  I even managed to wake up at 5am to join my mom for her pre-work run…twice!  Given the fact that I still reside with my parents when I’m not in my Waltham apartment, I enjoyed home-cooked meals every night and woke up to freshly made Blonde Blend coffee from Starbucks each morning (my favorite!).  Life at home was like living in a hotel…except there’s no valet and your brother drinks all the milk. 

My spring break setting was also very conducive to my school work load.  Instead of jetting off to a tropical land full of fruity drinks and coconut tanning lotion, I rode a communal bus for 3 hours to the 20 degree chill of the Pine Tree State.  As depressing as that vacation sounds, it was very necessary given the fact that I am in graduate school.  Taking classes full time is just that: it’s full time.  Not only am I in classes for three hours at a time, I often work the rest of the day, only to arrive home at dinner time, eat, and work on homework until I can’t keep my eyes open.  It’s work, work, and more work.  That is why having an entire week off to catch up on school work feels like a luxury in itself.  I have to say I felt extremely productive and motivated that week because it was the perfect balance of fun and work.  I also feel that coming to graduate school directly out of my undergraduate has given me an advantage; Being 23, not married, and without children has certainly allowed me to focus my whole self on school and making sure that I am successful in this program.  I also have the ability to return home to my parents on breaks and re-energize with their support and home-made mac & cheese.  My family and I are very close and, for me, these getaways are very possible due to the flexibility of my job and of Regis.   I do continue to work while on breaks, as I support myself financially, but there is more leeway given the timing of my graduate studies.  My time can be spent stewing over a paper for 3 hours, enjoying lunch with a friend, and returning to that same paper for another 3 hours.  And while I know I will one day be rewarded for spending my Spring Break at the Augusta Panera, for now, my only indulgence is a dark chocolate scone and maple-latte.   

One week later, and I am back in Weston, getting ready for “the final lap” of spring semester.  I feel re-vitalized, caught-up on work and ready to finish up the semester. Goals for the next week?  Finish the Review of the Literature Section of my research proposal.  My topic is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in rural women with postpartum depression.  Just saying the title stresses me out, but I am determined to focus and give it my all.  It is slated to be sunny, breezy, and highs in the 70’s this week at Regis.  Out like a lamb perhaps?  Stay tunedJ