Musings of a 40 Year Old Graduate Student - Part Two

The blog has been pretty quiet of late.  All of my mental capacity and creative writing mojo has been going into my final research paper for my January term class on Ethics, Spirituality and Global Climate Change.  We have a wee break next week before spring semester starts, so hopefully I'll come back up for air and visit the blog a bit more in the near future.

In the meantime, my experience of researching and now writing this paper has reminded me that doing graduate studies as a 40 year old is different from my undergraduate years as a 20 year old.  I've written about some of those differences, mostly positive, before.

One difference that could be either positive or negative depending on how you look at it is that I have limited capacity to push through when I'm tired.  I seem to hit what I call the "10:00 wall."  Whereas in my undergrad years I was known to spend 36 straight hours in the library during finals week, now I can work steadily and effectively until the clock strikes 10.  Then my brain tells me I am done for the night.

It's positive in that the final product is better, more developed and creatively written when I'm not a zombie.  It's also positive that I'm much better at self care than I used to be and I refrain from torturing myself with all-nighters.

When you get closer to the deadline, it's not so positive when you feel like you're running out of time.  Luckily I'm a planner and as I've gotten older I have also gotten really good at anticipating how much time I need to finish a product.

Plus, I am blessed that my community has missioned me to study full time these days, so I don't have so many outside pressures eating up my time.

So all in all, I guess, the 10:00 wall is a good thing.  I'm going to turn of the computer.  Relax for a bit.  Pray.  Get a good nights sleep.  And then start on the final 13 pages of my 20 page paper in the morning.

The best part is that since I'm in my chosen field (Social Ethics) which is tied to my passion and my community's charism (peace through justice) and something that I have practical experience with, if I'm pushing myself it's not so much for an A like when I was an undergrad.  Rather, I want to play with the ideas, really understand the dynamics at play, and see what kind of practical and pastoral applications I can come up with.  Yes, in the end, that generally results in an overachieving A worthy paper.  But my motivation is to have fun, to learn, and to grow.  And that, my friends, is a very cool place to be in your life.

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