Tuesday, March 27, 2007

School and staying sane

Well, my thesis proposal was approved. Yaay!

The next step is my Candidacy Exams. I get the written exam question at the end of April and submit the paper at the end of May. The oral part of the exam will be about a month later, at the end of June. Until then, I am doing preparatory reading and note-taking. I feel that I am working just as much as when I was taking classes, but it's independent work instead of in the class setting. Luckily I'm motivated and fairly organized (or so I like to think!) So my nose is in some book or other much of the time.

Running, weights and yoga keep me sane. I crave the escape that physical activity provides from my otherwise hyper-intellectualized world. I never thought I'd say this, but I find a certain comfort in being surrounded by meat heads for a small portion of the day. It "keeps me real" in a way.

I think it's easy for people who dedicate their lives to scholarly pursuits to get rather high on themselves and think they're superior to the rest of humanity. I see someone bench press as much as I weigh and I am humbled. Part of me likes being reminded that no matter what my strengths are as a human being, I have many weaknesses and shortcomings, too.

I like being reminded that I too, am human... takes the pressure off that nagging voice in my head that tells me I must always be perfect.

Running is coming along. I had a short not-so-love-filled affair with tendonitis in my right foot, which I was told was the beginning of shin splints. I took a week off running, but I'm back at it now. My long training runs are up to an hour now. The speed is coming along, but I keep that in perspective, too. I realize that 5.4 miles per hour does not exactly make me Speedy Gonzalez. :-) Like I said... I have my weaknesses.

I am enjoying the yoga classes twice a week and much of my recreational reading (limited though it is these days!) has taken me into the realm of reading about yoga and yoga philosophy. I'm thoroughly enjoying this un-official part of my education, too.

So there you have it... Intense focus on school, with equally intense focus on doing things to keep me sane while I am in school. So far, so good.