I did it. I survived my first year of graduate school.
It was great, it really was. It was fun, and I learned SO much, I met so many people I admire and who share my interests. It was a great 9 months. And it was hard as hell at times. But I did it. One more of these and I'll have my Masters degree in Public Health.
But. This last quarter was really, really hard. That may have been apparent in my lack of blogging! The schoolwork itself was challenging, but in a good way. It was my schedule and the fact that I barely saw Matt and had next to no time for either him or myself, or for our home, that made it difficult. The combination of my work schedule, internship schedule, and class schedule meant that I was gone from home five days a week from before 9 AM, and not home till after 10 PM two days a week, with a not-quite-so-late class on another day. So apart from weekends, the only real time I had to do homework was between 6 and 9 AM. I didn't get much sleep. I didn't see much of my non-school friends. I barely cooked. I washed dishes maybe twice in the past three months, and didn't do laundry once. Matt did all the washing up and laundry, most of the cooking, and kept the animals alive and the gardens watered. He was incredibly supportive, and I couldn't have done it without him, but he was also busy with all of his volunteer gardening work, and experiencing plenty of stress too. So we let some things slide, and I am really looking forward to getting them back.
Since March, we have used the dishwasher far more than usual, eaten out way too much, run out of groceries on a regular basis, stopped menu planning, and spent almost all of our little free time watching movies. I bought coffee way more often than I would like, although I think I at least cancelled out the additional cost by riding my bike much more regularly, and therefore not paying for bus tickets. We did manage to keep up with our routine of baking bread every week, and got the gardens planted and kept almost everything alive.
Maybe this goes without saying, but Matt and I are always both happier, healthier, and more productive when we get to spend more time together. It sucked so much that the time I needed to spend on school--something I also love and am committed to--took me away from Matt, who should be my priority. We were prepared for it, but that didn't stop it from being hard, when we only saw each other for a couple hours every day, and during the precious hours when I was at home, I had to be studying. We talked on the phone a lot more than usual, catching up with each other while I was walking across campus to class or from my internship back to school. But we are both so ready to actually spend time together. Back in January, we made a New Year's resolution to get out of town for a long hike once a month, and we weren't able to make good on that. Hiking together and cooking together have always been two constants of our relationship, and both of those things have disappeared over the last few months.
So. This summer, I will only be working 24 hours a week, and it looks like Matt will be working part time too. I have one quick summer class over the last two weekends of June (which I'm not even counting as school, because it seems so different from the craziness of the school year), but besides that, the only other demands on my time will be the weddings and reunions that Matt and I will go to together this summer. Mostly, I am looking forward to being at home, puttering around in the garden, looking after the chickens and the bunnies, picking up the knitting and sewing projects that were abandoned months ago, re-discovering my guitar, actually blogging regularly, reading for leisure, having time to go to yoga classes, and cooking and hiking with my partner. And, sometimes, just laying on a blanket in the sun in the backyard for hours at a time, doing nothing whatsoever.