Grad School Zen

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While riding the train home from the city, I realized this semester is going to be an exercise in time management and balance—like last semester, but on steroids.

I’ve been around the block before with this grad school thing (I earned my MA in Religious Studies in 2010), so you’d think I’d be pro by now, scheduling nary a single task more than I could comfortably complete.

But even when you think you’ve got it all figured out, it’s funny how amazing opportunities can creep up on you and kick your schedule in its pants.

For instance, this is how the semester started:

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As you can see, everything was neat and tidy.

Beside my classes, I had my Grad Assistantship all lined up, helping Norma Green with her Covering Religion class and editing, our community news site started by Columbia professors Barbara Iverson and Suzanne McBride.

But I made sure I had a big untethered chunk of time for calling politicians and advocates, rustling up real people, attending meetings and drafting, drafting, drafting.

Busy? Yes, but a sane level of busy.

Then, the most wonderful opportunity came knocking, by way of Jennifer Halperin, Columbia’s journalism internship coordinator. This was it. The internship to end all internships.

A little boating magazine, focused on the Great Lakes region needed an editorial intern.

Be still, my heart.

It seemed too good to be true:

For one, I live for my summers on and under the waters of the Great Lakes, scuba diving on shipwrecks.

Plus, it’s also the glossy bi-monthly magazine you imagine, with fantasy-worthy travel articles and pictures of white sails, speeding boats, and sparkling waters.

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And…it was a paid position. Schedule be damned!

So, I cleaned up the resume, made sure my clips were in top shape and agonized over striking just the right tone in my cover email.

I was in the car on the way to visit my mom, NPR blaring, when they called me.

I pulled off the road into a questionable looking junkyard entrance, the first place I could find. It was probably the strangest interview I’ve ever done, as the carcasses of crushed vehicles towered over the orange weather fencing and giant semi’s shook past my car, rolling into the yard.

Despite the unusual introduction, I interviewed in-person that afternoon and began work two days later!

So, my life looks a little more like this now:

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But I just couldn’t say no to the chance to edit this magazine.

With the aid of plentiful coffee, I’ll adapt and find my grad school zen one more time. We’re living the dream, right?