grad school chronicles: two panic attacks and the comfort of knowing everyone else had them too

part of my program’s requirements includes two field placements each semester. the first placement has begun, sort of – we’ll be tutoring elementary school children in reading, one day a week (or two, but only one day is required). some of the women who work at the reading clinic will write up our lesson plans, we’ll keep track of our child’s progress so that those lessons can accommodate their needs, and we’ll keep a portfolio of that child’s progress over the course of the semester. the second placement, though, is what gave me a heart attack yesterday. a professor told us that we did not need to be registered for that placement – which went against what we’d been told by others in the department, but then again…we hadn’t hear ANYTHING about the placement at all. like, what it even involves, much less when it begins. i emailed my advisor and was told that the students in the 5-year program (they’re undergraduates who will do an extra year and graduated with a MT as well as a BA or BS) were doing one placement while we did the tutoring, and next semester we’d swap. so, i asked – do i not need to be signed up for the mystery placement? no, she said, you’re still doing that one.

um. yeah. i’m staying registered for it, but no one in my program knows what is going on. very confusing. and stressful!

another stress-inducing moment happened when i checked my bank account this morning and saw that the check for my last 32 hours of full-time work had gone through (though, as leave hours, not hours worked…they’re fixing that), but not the 8 hours of student work i’ve done since then. PANIC! a quick phone call sorted it out – i have a paper paycheck waiting for me at HR – how i was supposed to know that, i do not know.

the thing is, despite the stress of the unknown, other people in my program are dealing with that too. one woman in my program, A, told me that she is trying to tack on a math endorsement. one person told her to take a lot of elementary requirements this semester, and start the math ones next semester. another person told her she needed to sign up for a math course this semester (two weeks in). she heard, i think, two more options before she went to one of the department chairs and got her on-board. supposedly, a fix is in the works.

what we’re all realizing is that grad school comes with many kinds of stress. Too Much to Read Stress! Too Many 8 AM Classes Stress! That One Obnoxious Guy Won’t Shut Up Stress! and now, the Everyone Is Telling Me Something Different Stress. but if we’re all dealing with it, somehow it makes the stresses a little less intimidating.