Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I miss the days of being able to stress eat without thought

And so I found myself in the Whole Foods cafe, eating a slice of gluten-free carrot cake and a decaf Americano.

Out of stress, my body has been screaming for carbs, especially since I've had both a doctor and an acupuncturist tell me to avoid carbs as much as possible. And so knowing that wheat affects me the worst of all flours and that I would really regret some sort of jellied pastry later, I went where I knew I could have something sugary without feeling truly ill later.

I have back-ups in my bag for later.

I think I will be taking a leave from graduate school. It was suggested at my committee meeting and echoes thoughts that have been running through my head on something of a continuous loop.

My committee is trying to be kind. This is a way for me to buy some time before I have to pay my own tuition. They are trying to help me. They are saying--subtly now, but I suspect less so when I meet with my supervisor tomorrow--that I should have asked for help before.

I have spent most of graduate school on the verge of falling apart. Other than one bad exam, things have always come together in the end. Somehow. And I thought that would be the case again. Once Scooter started school, once we had an answer on his diagnosis, once we had an answer on my health. Things would calm down, I would get to work, I'd get over this blip and nobody would be the wiser.

And so it's embarrassing for me to have this suggested. I feel defeated, as if I've failed. Even though the whole point is to shore up my success and keep me from plummeting.

Now excuse me while I go look for the chocolate bar I put in my bag.


cinnamon gurl said...

That sucks that things didn't come together. You're not a failure though. You've had major things going on -- MAJOR.

Team Serrins Springfield said...

Wow, It's hard to even say how impressed I am that you avoided the sugary stuff I'm sure they had at Whole Foods. Just that you were able to follow your Dr and accup. advice says loads. It's really hard that they are basically saying to take a break but at the same time, it's good too: they care about you and your progress and they want you to care for yourself and then come back to your studies.

The University where I was enrolled for my Ph.D. has sort of the opposite attitude: you can NEVER not enroll (and pay tuition of course) once you've been advanced to candidacy. When I tried to take a break they repeatedly enrolled me in 9 hours of research credit. When I said I wasn't interested they said I could never return to the University in any program or department (not just me - anyone who was ABD and didn't enroll). I will say this: I have literally never one single time regretted my decision.

metro mama said...

I'm sorry honey. But it's not a failure. You've had so much going on! I don't know how you do it.

Aliki2006 said...

My university had the same system as team serrins describes...

Don't feel like a failure. Don't. Look on it as a break, a time to reassess. I know that's easier said than done.

When I made the decision two years ago to leave the Ph.D program and remain ABD it was both the most difficult decision I've had to make in my life and also the most liberating one.

Mouse said...

I'm actually not ABD yet, although the regulations don't seem to make a distinction at my university, which is a good thing. The big issue at hand is determining whether to take leave through April or August. I can't take my final comps while I'm on leave, so I'm trying to calculate how much time I really need.

There's also the issue that I had started counting on taking maternity leave at some point (which is considered separately from other leave and is more straight forward) in order to stop my clock. And now I'm not sure if/when that will happen. Again, the issue of timing looms large. Throwing possible maternity leave into the mix also means doing the math about traveling and trimesters for my comps' oral exam.

crazymumma said...

i do the same thing. Self sabotage at the times I need my body and my brain to be at their peak.

No Mother Earth said...

I always try to think of this when I'm getting down "when a door is closed, somewhere, someone, opens a window." Things will work out. And what seems like a setback may just be a redirection.

Lisa b said...

mouse I don't read this as failure. I think it is extremely common for life to affect such a big undertaking as a Phd. Your committee is being very kind, I think teams springfield's experience is more common, or at least what I would have expected.
I think, just my crazy talk here, that you get to graduate once you've lost it. I was totally getting jerked around until I showed up pregnant and then everyone signed off on stuff they'd been sending back and forth for months.
take the break. take the leave. get 'er done.
I am so sorry you are feeling crappy about this.
hope the chocolate helped!

naomicatgirl said...

There is nothing wrong with taking some time to get yourself in order. You've done a lot in the last year, and your psyche needs time to catch up.

I took a leave part way through my Master's for a variety of reasons. There's nothing wrong with it, and it does not mean you are a failure. You are anything but!

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