…Now what?

I had one person dance parties in the kitchen, wearing my pjs and dancing to ridiculous pop music because no one was watching and I needed to move.

I have subsisted off of popcorn, cookie dough, redbull and cider for days.

I’ve probably gained about five pounds of dissertation weight.  And by dissertation weight I mean cookie dough and chocolate sorbet.

Speaking of chocolate sorbet, I have not had dinner yet and that is as good as any.

I have applied to thirty plus jobs and I am starting to come to the conclusion that my masters is more of a hindrance than a bonus in this economy.  I completed an internship that is basically what I want to be doing, but I cannot find anything but internships doing what I want to be doing.  And I have worked for free for two years and am pretty solidly flat line broke at this point.  I fundraised for the DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk – and met my fundraising goal thanks to the generosity of the amazing people in my life.  I dated someone, stopped dating that someone, and started dating someone else.  It’s been a bit of A Summer, one of thoughts and reflection in between stressing out about this monstrosity of a paper that was never going to end.

I started working part time at one of those classy sex stores.  One that is boutique style, geared towards women, where my title is formally sexual health educator or something along those lines and we carry vibrators that cost over a hundred dollars.  I answer a lot of questions about 50 Shades of Grey, which I have as of yet avoided reading and hope to continue to do so.  It should help me keep the credit card debt down while I search for work and I actually enjoy talking to people about why they should think about their lubricant choices.

I wrote my dissertation in six different coffee shops and two different libraries across northwest and northeast Washington, D.C., though mostly I wrote it at the kitchen counter of the friends whose house I am staying in.
I am sure they will be glad to get their counter back because as of two hours ago I am done.

Done with a 10,000 word paper that was political theory wrestled around S.B. 1070 and Arizona v. United States.  It’s possible I have already forgotten what I wrote.  But I am done, done, done.  The first thing I did was settled into a hot bath, reading Wild on my kindle and drinking my $3 grad student wine.

Every now and then I paused, put the book up, sipped my wine, and listened to the rain tap the window and tink off the drain.  And thought.

… Now what?

The thought stayed with me while writing this, and it stayed with me when I stopped writing because a storm came through and knocked the power out.  I finished Wild curled up on the couch with a half pint of chocolate sorbet and another glass of the $3 wine, reading by candlelight and the one flashlight I scrounged up when the power went out.

I sobbed when Wild was over.  Just briefly, and selfishly.  Less because of the book and more because I wanted with every bit of my body to be on the Pacific Coast Trail, trekking from Mexico to Canada.  Pushing myself, reveling in just being, and not worrying about employment and contemplating a future with a condo and a corgi.
I’ve joked several times over the summer that I’m now ready to settle down.  To get the white picket fence, the long-term partner, the 2.5 children and the dog.
That’s so not true.  The long-term partner would be nice, yes.  Maybe the dog.  The white picket fence, the 2.5 children, and the mortgage might not be for me, though.

But all that is the big picture.

What now?

Now, immediately, I go to bed.  I do not set an alarm.  I’ll wake up at six am regardless, but the future can wait until then.

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One Response to …Now what?

  1. Kathe (Catbird) TB says:

    Yea DONE! Congrats on finishing! You’ve done wonderful amazing things in your life. Don’t forget that. Keep in mind that I’m an academic scientist so take the following with a large grain of salt! This turned into a much longer comment then I intended, I hope some of it is encouraging/useful.

    Now you do exactly what you are doing. Send out resume’s and apply for jobs. Let EVERYONE you’ve ever known who might have a connection to a job in your field know you are looking (sending out a mass email with an update on your Masters completion or something to that effect might not be out of line). Is there a career center or something from your grad school you can work with/through? Will your field go through a hiring cycle after this next election?

    You have a job to pay the bills that you don’t hate so you have some breathing room. Take a breath. Maybe set your self up with a time frame: If I don’t have X type of job in 12 months I’ll move to India and work for peanuts for an NGO. You’re like me in that you like to plan things out I think 🙂 I always feel much better with a layered contingency plan set up.

    It took me 2 years to get in to grad school once I decided I wanted to go. Keep applying to those jobs. Try to stay connected to the field (present at conferences, do **light and related** volunteer work, write related blog posts/magazine articles). Stay flexible and keep the bigger goal in mind, the opportunity may not look exactly like you think it will.

    You always end up in interesting places. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic story to tell what ever these next few years bring!

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