I'm done with grad school. Six years ago, I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the first week of college. Losh was in NICU, I was working full time and volunteering full time, the Keeper of the Cheerois had a 9 month old at home.... I remember telling The Husbinator that I had this huge fear that I was going to fail. He, of course, told me that I was crazy. That I'm too stubborn to give up, too anal-retentive to fail, and that if anyone could juggle it all, it was me.
He was right, and I juggled it all for six years. Full time work, full time school, full time volunteering, full time aunty duties to a sick kiddo. Some days it was impossible, and I have no clue how I managed not to leave a kid at the store or forget a due date or burn the house down. But I didn't.
And now I'm here. Done. Finished. No more classrooms, or textbooks, or piles of research stacked precariously around me, or twenty page papers to write. This time next month, I'll have my graduate degree in hand. That's a great feeling.
When I started, I told everyone that I wanted to graduate summa cum laude, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. Because I knew I could. As of next month, I'll have done it twice. I kind of want to revel in how that feels for a while.
Everyone keeps asking me what's next, though. What do I want to do now? What kind of career do I want to pursue? Am I done with school for good? They're all legitimate questions, but the reality is... the only thing I want to do right now is, well, what I want to do.
I want to hunker down over my laptop and write until my fingers cramp, my eyes burn, and I have a permament crick in my neck. And I want to do this because, for the first time in six years, writing isn't required. There is no due date hanging over my head, or a grade waiting.
I want to walk into a library, and walk back out with a stack of books that aren't required reading. And then I want to curl up on the balcony and read them until my eyes burn, my butt is sore, and the neighbors think I've grown roots.
I want to make it through my Netflix queue, all 200 movies, and yell at the television like a crazy person through every Blackhawks game. I want to go hiking again, and spend a day lazing around the pool, or dragging the sister's kids all around the Zoo even though they only want to see the bunny rabbits.
I want to keep working where I am for a while, volunteering like I've always done, and I want to enjoy the realization that, when I get home, I don't have to write another paper or start another round of research. I can kick my shoes off, sit down at the computer, shove the textbooks out of the way, and start working on all those stories piling up in the corner. Maybe some will follow Fade into the land of publication. Maybe some won't.
I want to write them anyway.
So far as I'm concerned, that's a great plan. It's a legitimate plan. It's my plan.
Just because I have my degree doesn't mean I have to trudge into the midst of a broken criminal justice system and pick up the proverbial sword right this minute. The sword isn't going anywhere, nor is the system. It'll still be waiting after those manuscripts are polished. But those manuscripts have already waited long enough. They've waited for six years, to be exact.
So if anyone asks, what I'm doing next is exactly what I want to do. I'm going to write until my hands cramp and my head aches. Because I want to, and because I can.
And when I'm done, I have a whole stack of LSAT books on standby.
Happily vacationing in the land of fiction writing,