Thursday, October 17, 2013

Crash and Rally

Well I'm slowly treading my way through my first week of real grad student classes, and I must say so far it hasn't been quite as bad as I'd feared. Yes, there is a LOT of reading. As in, literally thousands of pages a week. The discussions are indeed lively and intellectual (wouldn't it be a disappointment if they weren't?), but I don't feel like I'm completely below everyone else's level. Mostly I feel a little out of practice of being in the classroom, which means my attention starts to wander after about an hour in a two hour seminar. But overall, I'm pleased so far.

(Plus, dude, I get to go to school here. Too legit to quit, man.)

What I've been struggling with, truly and strenuously, is the schedule. And I don't really get why! Compared to life on the farm, it seems like it should be easy: my average wakeup is a fully 2.5-3 hours later than it was on the farm, and I have fewer hours of class than I did chores, (though my homework time does probably exceed riding time and work... though not by much). And yet, I find myself exhausted. all. the. freakin'. time. Right now, for example, it's not even 9pm and I'm curled in bed, fetal and wiped out. What gives?

Several reasons, I think. First, I'm not used to using my brain this much, which is legit exhausting. I read an entire 400-page book in two hours over lunch today, and then promptly passed out and took an hour and a half nap as soon as I got home. Additionally, the pressure of meeting new people is something that really wears me down, and since it's all I've been doing since I arrived, I guess it would stand to reason that I would be feeling pretty drawn out. Finally, I've been trying a lot of new sports, which I'm really enjoying (more on that later, I promise!), but which have been working me in really different ways than the ride/bike/chores (and occasional yoga, on the rare days I'm feeling flexible) that I'm used to.

(There is, granted, an unglamorously large amount of study time involved)

So, I'm beat. And in the meantime, I've fallen into what I grimly would term the 'crash and rally' cycle of sleep: where I wake up in the morning, do a few hours of work, become a zombie by lunch, shove some food listlessly into my face, take a long siesta, do some afternoon work or physical activity, become a zombie by dinner, shove some food listlessly into my face, then fall asleep early and fail to sleep restfully through the night because of my long midday nap. Grumph. Not my favorite sleep pattern!

(Speaking of zombies, don't these mannequins sort of look... undead? It's hard to tell but they're weirdly listing forward, and with their stiff forward arms and lack of heads, I feel like they're a few seconds away from gurgling, 'braaaaaiiiiinnnss.' In full suits. Obviously, Oxford WOULD have the classiest zombies of all time.)

I remember going through the same thing pretty much my entire freshman year of Stanford. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to a more solid routine more quickly than that this time around; I love my sleep and become a royal grumpus when I can't get my beauty rest.

In the meantime, we've been treated with another burst of lovely fall weather (after a few days last week that were a grim reminder of what is to come--namely cold, rain, cold, rain... and more cold and rain!), and it's been nice to soak up as much of Oxford while it's looking its most beautiful before the long night of winter sets in.

(Green Templeton looking sooooo beautiful!!)

The prettiness of Oxford is something that, I admit, doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to some other people. Perhaps it's my redneck American ways, but old stone buildings--even ones as beautiful as you can find anywhere in Oxford-land--have never made my heart sing in the way that many American land- and cityscapes do. But on fine autumn afternoons like the one we had today, it's undeniable that there's magic in the air here: something indefinable, hazy, dignified, and fair. The buildings seem to give the air around them a quiet substance that normal houses cannot. It's hard to remember that this place is, in fact, real, and that people actually live real lives here. It all feels like a dream.

(Seriously, this is the view out the library window. How can that be real??)


Elena said...

Umm there's magic in the air because you go to Hogwarts. Duh!
Seriously though, glad you are loving it and really enjoying reading about your new adventure!!

GraceWoly said...

yI'm a bit of a lurker but have read your blog for a couple of years now and it's so awesome to read, have loved seeing your success with the ponies and great to see academic success too - but just wondering, what ar e you doing with Ringo while you're away? I'm a Kiwi who had to go to Australia for med school and have leased my lovely first pony out who I couldn't bear to sell when I left, so totally know the horrible feeling of leaving horses behind to study!

Austen Gage said...

Adjusting to a new routine and learning atmosphere is always tough. I know when my husband started med school after a few years working as an engineer, it was completely exhausting and strange for him. You'll adjust, but it'll take time. You're already one step ahead, by knowing what's important to you (sleep!). Good luck!

(Also, can we talk about how drop dead gorgeous the suit bedazzling the zombie mannequin on the left looks? Seriously, I would probably marry that suit ... and there doesn't have to be a man in it!)

Kate said...

Getting into a new routine, no matter what that routine is, takes a lot of adjustment. Hang in there, it will get easier! Then you'll go home on break and clean a few stalls and feel exhausted, and wonder where your stall cleaning stamina went! hehe

Leslie said...

Meanwhile, take some multi vitamins or iron tabs and drink lots and lots of water. That may help with the zombie feel.

Katherine Erickson said...

Haha yes Austen Gage, I agree! Though there are so many well-dressed real life men here that fortunately the temptation to turn to the zombie mannequins is low :)

Katherine Erickson said...

Haha definitely true, Kate. Apparently it's already that part of the year where morning feeding is done all pre-dawn at home - not something I miss!

Katherine Erickson said...

That's a good tip, Leslie - I've been good with water but could probably stand to get some more iron in my system. I'm a vegetarian so it's something I always have to have in the back of my mind.

Checkmark115 said...

All the pictures make me want to move there! You live a charmed life my friend :)

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