I am aware that it has been more than six weeks since my last blog post. I feel shameful about it, but I have some pretty good excuses. For one, I caught the nastiest flu bug ever in the middle of February, right before an exciting Medieval Studies conference hosted here at UCSB, which was, in turn, right before a visit from my wonderful mother, all of which took me out of the blogosphere for all of...umm...about a week. Okay, so maybe that's not enough to explain away my six-week absence. Really, all I can offer in the way of explanation is that I had a Tough Quarter.
When I say I had a Tough Quarter, I don't mean I had a super-busy, stressful quarter. In fact, it was closer to the opposite. I took two seminars, one of which was closer to a language class than a literature seminar; for some people, that would probably mean more work and headaches, since we had to do obnoxious things like memorize how many different classes of Old English strong verbs there are, and what they are. (The answer, by the way, is Too Many.) We also had lots of translations, also tough for a lot of people. As I've mentioned before, however, I minored in Latin in undergrad, which means I have a pretty good grasp already of how to translate inflected languages, and translations come fairly easily to me. So, in other words, while I had two seminars full of reading, plus French class in the fall quarter, this past quarter I really only had one seminar, with an average amount of reading, and translations. Which left me with a lot of time on my hands.
Had I been responsible, I could have put that time towards reviewing my Latin in preparation for the language exam; or volunteering somewhere; or going to the gym three days a week. However, I have a propensity towards procrastination and laziness, so I spent the majority of that time bumming around on the internet and cuddling with my cat while watching TV, all of which led to a mind wide open for such existential crises as "Is this really what I should be doing?" "Do I have any idea what I'm doing here?" "Do all of my colleagues know what they're doing, when I don't?" and "Maybe I should just move back to the Bay Area and attend baking school."
The good news is that, by the end of the quarter, I was able to pull myself out of the dungeon of those terrifying thoughts. I do know what I'm doing here, I am not categorically behind all of my colleagues, this is really what I should be doing, and baking should definitely remain simply my hobby. The introspection this quarter was painful at times, but it really did help me get closer to understanding more fully what I really am doing here. Every time I forced myself to actually answer one of those questions, instead of flailing and shoving my head under the pillow, I learned something new about what I'm interested in that I'd never "thought out loud," as it were, before. Now, at the end of this tough quarter, I have a greater sense of what specific goals and interests I have, not to mention a much better idea of how to use any excess of free time I find myself with (ie, Get Out Of The House).
Winter Quarter is nearly done; I've turned in my paper, and my final is tomorrow evening. Thursday, I'm headed back up to the Yay Area to spend a week with some of my nearest and dearest, and then I get to bring one of those dear ones back to SB with me for the last four days of Spring Break! Next quarter looks exciting and busy from where I'm sitting, which is good news, but the even better news is that now I know how to cope with the moments when it's not.