I knew that going back to graduate school would be a wild ride. I graduated college in 2009 and left my ability to cite scholarly research articles or study for a midterm behind with my days of drinking kegs of Keystone light and sleeping until 2pm. College was an oh-so glorious, slightly destructive, ride-or-die kind of time. I struggled with graduation. I missed the insta-community I had with school and the way my life was structured. It was the happiest place I knew until that moment. Discovering the consuming world of traveling over the past few years has changed all of that. Traveling has become my perfect place, and I never have to graduate. You would think that finding something like that would keep me from overhauling my life in other significant ways, but in reality, it has encouraged it.
I’m not going to knock the idea of working in corporate America, but it just wasn’t for me. I could never “play the game”. I felt more unsettled every day that I had to walk into those offices and I had no freedom in sight. I relied on hitting the road more feverishly all the time, because my every-day was eating me away. In one crazy, spontaneous evening, I decided to take the plunge and start over. Six years after college, I started graduate school. I’m learning about Urban Policy, community development, the education system, what makes neighborhoods strong—a lot of the same things that I’ve learned informally while on the road. It’s been a wakeup call and has shown me how many super awesome things I can do with my life that mean something to me.
It’s also been a little bit of chaos. I have spent more weekends working on group field work projects in Brooklyn or writing policy memos than I ever expected to. I tumble from my epically long days of work and school and into late-night happy hours where I collapse into a barstool, one hand cradling my head and another grasping a cold Hoegaarden. I read my textbooks on my cell phone on the subway car via my Google Books app so that I have time to go to said-happy hours in the first place. One strange tip that I can give to others who are considering the madness that has been this journey…
Drink Redbull again.
Not all the time. Not even frequently. Every slightly-more-mature adult instinct I have is telling me that it’s full of crap and will cause me to grow horns, but after a year of school, I have finally caved.
It’s a little glorious. I am so productive. And a little jittery. The computer keys are vibrating…maybe I should take a nap…or have a drink…No, that’s WORSE. Obviously, Redbull is my grown-up gateway drug to poor choices.
Graduate school has opened up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities for changes to my life. It’s been a gateway to certain selective unhealthy choices; and consequently, it has served as an “anti-kitchen” in my culinary life. Rolling into my apartment at night and creatively whipping up a stovetop concoction has become a rare and prized feat. I recently ordered Papa Johns for the first time since I was 22. I know this venture will prove to be worth the moderate level of physical destruction it’s causing to my less-than-resilient body, but until then I just want to say…
Kitchen—I am so, so sorry. Wait for me. I’ll be back (without my sugar-drenched energy drink…but certainly with wine).