This weekend I took two finals and competed the didactic portion of my masters degree program. I’ve been working towards this for over two years now and the rhythm of it feels familiar. In the last weeks of a term I feel burnt-out, read-out, lectured-out, practice guidelined-out, professional journaled-out. Anxious to be done, distracted and unable to concentrate. My husband now laughs at my predictable routine with each term of school:
Beginning of the term: Feel overwhelmed by all I have to do. Make lists, lists, lists. Reorganize the house 5 times.
Middle of the term: Accomplish the bulk of my coursework. Nose-bured in books. Motivated and running extra miles to cope with the energy of it all.
End of term: Can barely make it through a paragraph of clinical text. My mind is always on real-life scenarios: how to manage a shoulder dystocia, treat chlamydia, midwife a patient with a history of sexual assault, recognize a baby with a heart defect. I make lists of what I want to accomplish during my break. Dream of a beach vacation. Stalk google maps with wanderlust.
During break: Sleep, watch movies and read for about 18 hours until I feel …restless and find myself in clinical journals, board review books and house projects.
It has been comforting and comedic to see it played out 9 times over the past 2.25 years. This break is different because next month I’m venturing into the clinical realm. This long-worn cycle has served me well, protected my sanity and become a calendar of sorts for our family. For all of the struggles that come with graduate school with a husband and two small children, there’s something to be said for the shelter and predictability it has provided. This Spring, I’m venturing outside of the familiar rhythms and steeling myself for the unpredictability of clinic and hospital nurse-midwifery.