This week marks the very first time in a LONG time that I’m not involved in academics. What do I mean? It’s the summer semester and I’m not taking a class, doing an internship, writing a dissertation, or teaching. I don’t have to “ready” my study at home for another round of work.
After zeeeero break between the dissertation and taking on a ridiculous teaching position in the spring, I’m left with a sense of emptiness. Yes, I’ve heard of people becoming depressed after finishing their dissertations. I never had that happen, probably because I never took a break. I work at a university and I started teaching right away. It really didn’t seem like a big deal to finish.
Now I’m faced with all of this free time. I don’t have anything to stress about anymore. No more lesson plans or papers to grade. I’m not doing ANYTHING this summer. Fall, well, that’s a different story. But for now, I have four months of nothing to do when I get home at night from work. What am I going to do during the weekends now?!
This brings me to my bigger point. Who am I? If I’m not a student anymore, and I’m not sucked up with class responsibilities, then how do I define myself? I’ve been a student for 16 years. Time to decide who I want to be now. In the present.
What do you do when a major part of your identity is gone? Do you replace it with something else immediately or do you allow yourself to discover the new you? This is what I’m struggling with, people.
I can’t even come up with ways to describe myself without talking about school. How sad is that?
So here I am, on the cusp of an existential crisis. Excited to discover the new me but scared that I’ve forgotten the old me in the process.
I hope I don’t become someone completely different. I hope people don’t tell me they like me better now. I hope I can be a better version of myself. That’s it.
Here’s to the summer.