I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking lately. Somnambulant. What a perfect word to describe this exact activity. The long “o” sounds. The way the “b” wants to bleed into the “l,” much like in “ambling.” Ambling leading to aimless. Aimless leading to wandering. Wandering.
I was excited for the second semester, but now that feeling has worn off. Other than workshop, I’m not sure if I’m particularly jazzed about any of my classes. Even workshop feels like a struggle sometimes, not because of the structure or the teacher. I’m just wondering if the newness, the shininess, of graduate school is wearing off.
Before I came to South Carolina, I was turning over a new internship every four to six months. The longest job I worked at in Minneapolis was six months and that was in HR. Following that, I interned at one of the nation’s “big five” museums for modern art. When that was over, I interned at a major non-profit independent press. Then, I held a part-time job as a marketing assistant at a book sales and distribution company. I eventually got a full-time job at that company as the marketing coordinator. Shortly after, I received the news that I got accepted into graduate school. I had to move on.
Maybe my body is recognizing that it’s time for a change again. My mind and heart come in tow, preparing themselves for a new position or adventure. Last semester, I was fully immersed in the experience of graduate school: I had trouble keeping up, figuring out how to divvy up my time, deciding what was important. Now, when I get home, I resist opening my backpack, holding books, and thinking about academia. Instead, I want to walk outside, think about summer, and where I’ll be next.
I’m returning to Minneapolis for the summer and am hoping to get an internship. I’ve been polishing my resume and drafting cover letters. Instead of with dread, I’m approaching the project with a sense of zeal. There is this pull that publishing has for me: I want to feel the rush of meeting new people who are passionate about their seasons, learn the relationships that reside within the company as well as the connections its making out in the community, and walk into a building with a lot of light and, almost always the case, a wall with a built-in bookshelf full of shiny contemporary books.
I was recently invited, spur-of-the-moment, to a road trip to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Normally, I would’ve declined, said I had too much work to do, that I’d get behind in school. But time is working differently for me now. It’s encasing me in walls of honey and I’m walking around feeling restless and purposeless and a bit suffocated. I hadn’t committed yet, but in my head I was already drafting emails saying I’d miss class and planning a meeting with my supervisor to make up the hours I’d miss at my job. When would I get this beautiful, whimsical opportunity again? I was excited about the prospect of missing school; school had been breathing down my neck for the last six months and we needed a break.
Unfortunately, I can’t go. I made a commitment several months ago to teach at an elementary school this week. Because the schedule was planned out so far in advanced, I wouldn’t feel right and it wouldn’t be professional if I said, “Just kidding. I’m having an existential crisis and I think physically leaving is the only thing that will help me. I can’t teach adorable fourth graders right now.” What a terrible person I’d be. Sometimes I want to be terrible.
I think walking and paying attention on my walks is helping. The sunlight helps and the movement. The paying attention part is probably what’s helping more. Focusing on one activity. Eating outside. Exercising. Writing letters. Reading for hours on end. But my feet carry me places sometimes of their own volition. Maybe I’ll walk right out of this mood and into something better.