Feels good, man


Joe Fresh tunic blouse; TNA leggings; Burberry folding wristlet; Nine West boots

Four months ago, it seemed like grad school would never start, and when it did, I was convinced I was going to fail. Now I’m done my first semester, and I can hardly believe it. I feel like writing an Academy Award speech, but I’ll save it for when I graduate. ;)

As if starting a new program at a new school weren’t already hard enough, looking for work and starting a new job definitely added to the stress and pressure of this first semester. How I managed to sort out my life and still get good grades is seriously a mystery to me, but I certainly couldn’t have done it alone. Jon wrote a humourous and touching blog post on what it’s been like for him with me in grad school, which you can read here. It’s an honest recap of our life over the past eight months and gives you a little bit of insight into how we’re balancing work, school, and marriage.

I meant to check-in last week, but I’ve been busy working at my evening job and catching up on home chores. I will do my best to update this blog as much as I can over the next little while, so definitely check back.

C.

Surviving life, work, school, & everything in between


(instagram.com/annawatsoncarl)

A friend I made in grad school shared something with me, and I want to share it with you guys as it perfectly describes what I’m going through right now. To give a little context to her situation, she is a wife, mother, grad student, and works full time. She is also a beautiful writer.

“When I get discouraged because the volume of work seems too much, the competing demands too many, my resources too low, I remember that this is what growing and succeeding looks like at points. It’s messy. It’s imperfect. It’s fighting through, identifying what actually needs to be done, under the pressure, with competing demands, finding and building networks, asking for help, negotiating and making compromises to creatively get to the finish line. And some days it just sucks. But in the end, it is a privilege to have such problems in the first place. And it will be over soon enough. And it will be worth it. And the first friend who points out that proper sentences don’t start with And or But are getting whip cream pies in the face.” – KN

For those in a similar boat, I hope you find comfort and encouragement in her words as I certainly did.

C.

And I am done with my graceless heart

- Florence + the Machine


It’s always darkest before the dawn

On the home front, things are improving. I totally burned Jon out while I was recovering from my own burnout, which he briefly wrote about here. Our marriage has been put through the wringer since I quit my job, and while we’re not out of the woods just yet, I think the worst is behind us.

My new schedule these days is pretty jam packed. I’m working full-time during the day, which is a refreshing change from working a couple evenings a week for the past four years. I much prefer the 9 to 5 lifestyle. Thus it’s kind paradoxical that I’m also working part-time in the evenings doing counselling work. It’s a casual position that’s flexible, and it allows me to pick up shifts as I choose. In addition, it’s close to home, pays really well, and I’m able to continue practicing counselling.

As for school, I’m taking two courses, which people like to think is equivalent to two undergraduate courses. I’m here to tell you that it’s actually more like four. Even though the program is part-time, I’m pretty much a semi full-time student. Basically, I’m working full-time and part-time, and schooling more or less full-time. It’s crazy, but fortunately, my day job allows me to do school work when it’s slow. Hence, the sole reason I accepted the position, despite compromise in salary and location.

I’m also using public transit to commute to work. As a grad school, I have full-time status, so I was able to opt in for the UPass. I love driving everywhere, but economically, the UPass makes transit way more affordable than paying for parking, gas, and insurance. Although there’s a lot of little annoyances like delays and standing/sitting close to people, it’s actually not that bad.

And that’s my life update for now. I write so much for school that writing leisurely is impossible. Nonetheless, I felt the need to catch you guys up on current events. I’ll return in December to breathe life back into this blog and hopefully finish writing about Europe.

C.

The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go

- Dr. Seuss


coffee & psychotherapies

In case you’ve been wondering, school is going really well. First month was crazy, though. We had an assignment due the first week of school, and since then, it’s been nonstop reading and paper writing.

I didn’t always love learning growing up, but I always tried to do well in school. It wasn’t until I got to university that I actually started to enjoy learning. Traditional subjects like math and science were never my strong point, so getting to pick the courses that I wanted to study during my undergrad allowed me to really explore and learn what I was interested in. Thus, my time in university ignited my passion for learning.

On the other hand, working is great, especially getting paid. Plus, school is incredibly stressful and costly, so when you finish, you never want to think about going back. Although there are other means of learning that don’t involve school, I believe school is great for learning when you’re truly passionate about the subject. I also acknowledge that it’s not for everyone.

Admittedly, I applied for grad school for professional reasons and not because I actually want to be in school; I really like working and making an income. However, two pages into my first reading assignment, I realized that school isn’t all about obtaining the necessary credentials. At the very heart of why I’m in school is my love for learning, which runs deeper than anyone will truly ever know.

That said, I am really enjoying my program thus far, and I know I made the right choice, although there was never any doubt. However, it’s been a huge learning curve. Switching to a graduate level of schooling has been an adjustment. At an undergraduate level, you only skim the surface of major theories and concepts, whereas at a graduate level, you have to learn to analyze and critique readings and research literature, as well as apply theories and models to clinical practice. It’s definitely intense and there’s a lot of pressure to perform.

I have my days where I feel confident that I can do this and days where I feel crippled by inadequacy and doubt. By no means is school easy for me, and I actually have to try at it. I was never one to brag about getting an A on an exam I didn’t study for. I struggle everyday with the belief that I can do anything and the fear that I’m going to fail. Nothing in life has ever come easy for me, and I have had to work hard at everything, especially school.

Now that it’s mid-November, I’m approaching final projects and papers, so it’s going to be a busy month. Got one more post to share with you guys tomorrow so check back.

C.

When one door closes, another opens

“… but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell


Elbow River

My apologies for yet another disappearing act, which seems to be my blog theme for this year. Shortly after my last post, school took off, and I’ve been buried under a pile of textbooks since.

In good news, I finally found a job. My search for a new job was very specific as I wanted something that would be more conducive to school. Thus, I applied for a bunch of random reception and administrative jobs over the summer, but heard nothing back. I figured it was because I was overqualified and the job market right now is quite competitive. When I finally ran out of options, I decided to apply for a barista position at a local coffee shop. I went through the interview process, even did a shadow shift, and got a job offer, but ultimately decided to turn it down. Then it was back to square one.

I felt like I hit another brick wall. Instead of letting it get me down, I decided to expand my search to include counselling-related jobs, and actually gained some movement. However, I was very apprehensive because I wasn’t sure if I could handle working a full-time counselling job while going to school. In mid-October, while I was interviewing and waiting to hear back from a couple jobs, I got a call for this job I’m in now. I originally applied thinking I wouldn’t hear anything back since I had no luck even getting an interview for an administrative position. But fortunately, I was in luck this time.

I decided to settle for a desk job with minimal responsibilities and low stress so that I can concentrate more of my efforts on school. It pays shit, which was really hard on the ego at first, but I know it’s what I need right now in order to balance both work and school. Although I would like to work a “real” job that pays “real” money, it just doesn’t work with my life circumstances right now. School is turning out to be a lot more demanding than I had originally anticipated, and between juggling my other roles as a wife and daughter, this easy job is about all I can manage. I’m still trying to come to terms with all the changes, but I’m definitely in a better place and I’m grateful that life is beginning to turn around.

I’ve always been a big believer in timing, and while it was frustrating that it took so long to find a job, I think it worked out the way it was supposed to. I would have never imagined choosing this job, but sometimes, many doors need to be closed before the right one opens.

C.