When you come to HGSE, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Everyone is so well put together. Everybody has incredible work, volunteer, and/or school experience. It’s not uncommon for you to run into someone who already started a program or someone who used to be your boss or supervisor. Unlike my undergrad years, nobody goes to class in sweats and uggs. In fact, I think I may be the only person who has worn a hoodie to class. I swear! (It’s the east coast, I tell ya!) Here’s another sad little secret: if I’m in a hurry and I have to wear grungy clothes, I throw on my running shoes and pretend that I’m either coming from the gym or going to the gym after class. And I swear, everyone turns in their papers on time. And they probably all get As.
With all that said, this week was an especially downer week for me because this week was the week where I realized that no matter what, my research paper was going to be late. It was really hard coming to terms with that because I didn’t have a valid excuse. Before, if I had to turn in a paper late, I had already arranged some sort of extension with my professor ahead of time. This time, I had to shamefacedly write an email in the morning informing my professor and teaching fellow that my paper was going to be late. Basically, I hadn’t managed my time well, I had prioritized other things, and I wasn’t willing to drag my body through the night to punch out something deliriously mediocre.
I assumed that I’d be turning in the paper a few hours later, but THEN on top of all this, I got some sort of stomach bug! It was ridiculous. During that ordeal, I was determined to crank out the paper, go to my two classes, and THEN go to the health services. My friend Eva saw me working on my paper and told me that no, class wasn’t important where health was involved, and to take care of myself. I think as I was rambling on about how I “had” to finish this paper, I realized how ridiculous I sounded. In the larger scheme of things, a paper isn’t worth my health, my sanity, etc. Don’t get me wrong. It was hard to then email my professor again and tell her I was sick. I’m so used to “muscling through”. However, I think, just like with everything else, this was a good learning experience. Just not the type that I receive from a lecture hall.
And it turns out I’m not the only one. My other friend (in the Education Policy and Management program) just the other day emailed me and shared with me how she’s struggling too and how she too had to turn in papers late. We commiserated about how everyone else seems so put together, and out of this body of over 600 students, we’re the only two who turn in late papers. However, that’s not true either. As I stay frank about how I’m doing, I’m realizing other people also have late papers (as of now, I’m not the only one who hasn’t turned in my research paper yet). And no, it’s not like HGSE professors are fluffily lenient and airily dole out extensions. They don’t. It’s that, you come to a point where you realize that yes, an A would be nice, but ultimately there’s really more to what you do here than the grade.