A Day in the Life

Posted on October 18th, by Joy Brown in Joy Brown. No Comments

Scooby, the tiny, expensive addition to the family.

During a session I attended a few years ago that offered pointers regarding how to navigate graduate school, one University of Findlay professor said she ran marathons while earning her advanced degrees – impressive athletic accomplishments sans studying. But for many, including me, grad school itself, balanced with the rest of life’s challenges, is the race.

Part of my day job includes editing other blogs from UF undergraduate students, so I can’t help but compare and contrast their experiences with my own, including my Miami University undergraduate years. The task can be both an eye opener and a nostalgic romp through memories both kind and cringe-worthy.

For me, Monday, Oct. 9, represented a typical race day that necessitates careful planning, pacing and flexibility to make both work and class possible. Here’s how it progressed, and how it compared to days gone by:

  • 6 a.m. – Got myself and my 5-year-old ready. A departure from more than two decades ago, when being awake at this hour would’ve meant that my sleep had been interrupted by ROTC members conducting drills.
  • 7 a.m. – Wiped kitten diarrhea off the carpet, then wiped poor Scooby’s bottom while urging my very curious son to please finish brushing his teeth. Not much different from waking up in the middle of the night to discover my college roommate urinating down our dorm room radiator.
  • 7:45 a.m. –Made a vet appointment. I now have high-dollar responsibilities that have to be paid, in full, on the spot, unlike, say, student loans, which took me 12 years to eradicate.
  • 8 a.m. – Pounded away at ye olde keyboard all morning. Posted and distributed press releases, edited an alumni magazine story and proofed marketing materials. In short, a lot of writing, which I love to do. Those skills did and do come in handy when academic papers were and are assigned.
  • Noon – Exchanged surly emails with a friend, whom I complained never keeps in touch. The friend was apologetic, but then predictably lambasted me for my own personal shortcomings. Apparently, some things never change.
  • 3 p.m. – Began to hit a wall. Mental fatigue set in while worrying about vet bills, hoping my child actually behaved at school, cursing my recent escrow shortage, wondering if I’ll soon have one less friend in my life, and replaying a million other thoughts that are the bane of single mom concerns.
  • 5 p.m. – After picking up sitter and kid, buying pizza for them and dropping them off at the house, drove back to campus for my Digital Media and Composition class, where we discussed webtext analysis methods for an upcoming assignment. Unlike earning a bachelor’s degree, my classes now constitute my break for the day, my opportunity to step away from the world’s problems and focus on stuff like intertextuality, virtual reality, and Harold Rheingold.
  • 8 p.m. – Drove home, paid the sitter and drove her (a UF student whom I am eternally grateful to have found for this childcare gig) back to campus. Her part-time job was over, just like mine used to be when I worked four-hour shifts making pizzas and mopping floors at Erickson Dining Hall (at Miami University, my undergrad alma mater).
  • 8:30 p.m. – After third and final round trip home, gave son a tubby, read him a book and put him to bed late. Parenthood had been an unthinkable, terrifying concept for me during my undergraduate years.
  • 9:30 p.m. – Drank a glass of wine and cuddled with my super pooper kitty while mindlessly watching the movie “Florence Foster Jenkins.” Twenty-two years ago I would’ve caught my second wind and commenced to homework with the Eagles’ “Hell Freezes Over” soundtrack playing in the background.

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