It’s officially that time of the semester when things get crazy. That reality might be especially true for grad students: in the coming weeks, I’ve got 5 books to read, 3 major papers to write, and final exams to take. Somehow, though, I’m feeling pretty good about it all (believe it or not, writing this post isn’t just a way to postpone my homework).
In fact, things have been exceptionally good lately. Sure, sometimes I wish I didn’t have to go to work or school, but I’m feeling fulfilled and challenged in all kinds of wonderful ways.
Here are some things that are bringing me joy these days. No surprise, but many of these things are pop culture-related.
- Watching “Empire” has been a joy. My roommate and I still have 4 episodes left, but we’re obsessed. Who wouldn’t love Cookie Lyon?
- As of Saturday, “Outlander” is back in my life and I am so very happy about it. It’s safe to say that the books will find their way onto my summer reading list.
- I’ve got a great thesis advisor and a project I’m really excited and passionate about. I’ve barely started the work, but I’m feeling ready and motivated toward progress.
- I got to watch Dreamgirls today and it was pretty invigorating.
- My assigned school reading has provided me with a wonderfully diverse group of books I may have never approached on my own. I sped my way through Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart for the second time over the weekend, and I’m now close to completing Maxine Hong Kingston’s harrowing The Woman Warrior. Up next: John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces and Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine.
- I get to write research papers on topics I care about and feel confident I can talk about for 20 pages. This is kind of lame, but it’s a relief.
- Rewatching “Lost” has been a little treasure in my life. Why is this show so much smarter than me?
- I’m joining my dad and stepmom in New York next month! Hopefully I’ll also get a chance to visit a few friends during my visit.
- I’m in a writing workshop course that’s challenged me to write personal pieces, something I haven’t really done since high school (apart from keeping this blog, of course). It’s been a bit scary, but I think I might actually make a habit of it.
- In June, my mom and I will be traveling to Austin, TX to attend the ATX TV Festival! I bought our tickets when the “Gilmore Girls” reunion panel was announced last fall, but as they continue to make announcements of the programming, I get more and more excited for the adventure.
- I’m almost halfway done with grad school! What is happening?!
- I spent a lovely, relaxing, spiritually-fulfilling Easter weekend at home with family and friends. I’m so thankful for my fourth anniversary as a Catholic, and attending Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday was the perfect source of inspiration for the coming weeks.
And now, for my biggest news. Last year about this time, I was finishing my undergraduate days and preparing to start grad school, hoping for an assistantship with the English program in which I am enrolled.Things didn’t work out as planned, but I ended up with another assistantship that’s been a gratifying experience.
Things are still improving. I’ve been offered an assistantship in the English department, which will not only provide better funding toward my education, but also give me the chance to teach two introductory English courses next spring! Getting to start my dream job a little early is both exciting and terrifying.
And now for the icing on the cake. As you probably know, I attended the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, an experience that has absolutely affected my life (in the most positive way). I’ve planned on returning to Sundance in 2016, particularly because it directly relates to my master’s thesis topic, and after I didn’t receive a fellowship that would provide partial funding for the excursion, I’ve been thinking about how I’ll budget to pay for the trip.
Now comes the good news: to make a long story short, I’ve been asked to serve as a teaching assistant for the 2016 Sundance course, so I’ll serve in a somewhat advisory capacity for the students attending. In exchange, all my expenses will be covered. I repeat: I am going to Sundance FOR FREE. I expect this is an opportunity that will never arise again, but it’s one that’s made me wake up with a smile on my face every day.
So if you’ve read this or if you’ve been in my life recently, I just want to say thanks. I feel incredibly blessed and grateful for this life. If you’re feeling sad or stressed or bummed out, please let me know what I can do to return the favor. I’m in an especially “spread the love” kind of mood and the moment, and I want everyone in my life to feel as content as I do at this moment.