So the last time I posted was my last day of class last quarter. I had such good intentions of blogging here over my break, catching up on Oliver's blog, working on his baby book, and organizing our home. I would love to say that I did at least one of those things...I guess I started organizing Oliver's baby clothes and rearranging his room, but I did not have time to finish so I had to leave it in a disastrous state.
The good news? This is the beginning of the end. Tomorrow is the first day of my last quarter of college classes ever. My heart started beating a little faster as I typed those words. I will be done in June. Then, I will only have a part-time practicum to complete next year, and I then I will have my MSW! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's beautiful.
I finally finished up my Senior Capstone Project (equivalent to a thesis in my field). I worked so hard on that project and I'm so glad it's done! I got a 4.0 on it, which I am happy about. The night I turned it in, W and I met up at Red Lobster after class to celebrate (my mom was in town at the time so she was at home with Oliver). W brought me some balloons and flowers to the restaurant, which was so sweet of him.
The last time I posted, I mentioned that I had been feeling prideful about school. I've been thinking about how I got to this point. While I was working on my BASW, I finally found the thing that clicked - the thing I felt passionately about. Where was social work when I first started my college "career" in 1998? Why did I not know about this amazing field and how I would fall completely in love with it? So fast forward to 2007 when I was finally able to start the Social Work Program. I had several years of college under my belt (as in nine) so I knew how to do the student thing. Now that I didn't have to deal with annoying classes like Math and Chemistry, I could really excel at academia. Plus, I was motivated to get good grades in the event that I decided to apply to grad school, which I thought was pretty likely. Therefore, I became super competitive (which, in most cases, I am quite the opposite of competitive - I would rather my sports team lose and see the other team win, if that gives you an idea). I worked very hard. I got As in all of my classes and graduated with honors. I liked that I was a good student and was respected by my professors and peers. I liked that my writing had improved over the course of my Bachelor's Program (one of my professors even told me I would be crazy not to apply to Law School - which I think is so funny because that is the last thing I would ever want to do). I felt really confident in my abilities as a student (at least as far as social work courses are concerned. Biology is another story).
So then I started graduate school in 2010, to work on my MSW. W and I talked about how there wouldn't be as much pressure now that I wasn't competing for grades to get into grad school. Who cares what my grades are now, as long as they are somewhat decent, right? Wrong. I was still stuck in that competitive "I will get amazing grades and impress my professors and peers and graduate with honors again" mode. And that? That is prideful. I didn't even think of it in this way at all until it was lovingly pointed out to me. Once it was, I immediately realized that this has been the case. Instead of focusing on things that are more important, I have spent countless hours "perfecting my final project." Of course, this is a good thing to do, but maybe not the absolute best possible use of my time when I have so much on my plate, including the most amazing little boy whom my heart aches to be with when I am not. I just got so caught up in it. Playing the role, getting praise from my professors, having them expect the best from me, not wanting to disappoint them. So now, as I begin my final quarter, I am finally getting my act together. I am finally putting school lower on the priority list. I have part two of my research class to take, and I'm not looking forward to it. But, I'm taking it pass/fail and I'm not going to put the pressure on myself to get a 4.0 in the class when all I have to do is pass (like I did with my Policy class in the Fall...I took it pass/fail and I ended up with a 4.0 because I'm such a perfectionist. Ridiculous.)
Lately, I have also been thinking about this:
So, I have decided to cut back. This is really difficult for a perfectionist to do, you know. So I'm taking little steps. Instead of working out for 1 hour and 20 minutes to get my max. points for the fitness challenge, I only work out for 40 minutes a night and get the minimum points...but I also clean my kitchen and spend more than ten minutes with my husband. Instead of striving for a 4.0 in my Research class, I am all about scraping by. Luckily, I have a professor for this class whom I have not had in the past, so she does not have high expectations of me, and therefore, I will not be letting her down (yes, I am also a people-pleaser, which I have also realized over the past few years, being in school).
It's refreshing to feel this way. To realize that I don't have to do it all and be everything all at once, while doing it perfectly. I think that as women, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. I am giving myself permission to let some things go. It's about time! Here's to a halfhearted effort in my final quarter of classes ever. Bring it on!