I have school tonight.
This is all I seem to be able to think about today. You would think that this could be interpreted as a signal of distress, but don't worry. I am alright.
This is my third fall semester of grad school, so all of the first day jitters have pretty much been overcome by now, but I still find that the brief period before my first classes meet to be a little unsettling.
It isn't a fear of not having any friends or not knowing anyone. By now, I always know at least one person in my class. Even if I didn't, it's grad school, not Kindergarten. I can handle it.
My professors have already published their syllabi's, so I have an idea of what kind of workload to expect. It's always a little overwhelming at first, but that is largely due to the mental shock of accepting that one's free time is going to be much more limited for the next few months.
Fortunately, I am generally pretty good at maintaining proper perspective in this case. I always know that there is an end date to the hysteria. In this case, it is December 20. Graduation.
The only real bummer to the start of school is the fact that I usually end up having a class that meets in the evening. In the case of this semester, we meet every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. This means that I must get up for work in the morning, spend my day in the office, rush out at closing time and drive through traffic across the city to my university's campus.
To date, I have never been late. I cut it very close only once, in my first semester. This was due to heavy snowfall, so I was not the only one. So it doesn't really count.
Normally, I do not consider 9 p.m. to be very late. But when I depart from the classroom tonight into the cold darkness of the evening knowing that I have to drive back to my parents' house and will be going to bed within an hour of my arrival only to arise early tomorrow morning for work, it will seem like midnight.
Of course, this feeling is not aided by the fact that like a fool I told my father to wake me up at 5:15 a.m. to take the dogs for a walk. True, I do normally get up at 5:30 when I am at my own house, but somehow that feels different. Maybe it was the fact that my mother had to work at 5 this morning and my ever-perceptive dog managed to hear her moving silently through the house at 4:20.
When we are at home, this wouldn't be a problem. Lena would just go back to sleep. At my parents' house, she is a completely different animal. For some obscene reason, she assumes that any slight noise is the all-clear to get out of bed. She springs forth to the floor and lays her head down by the bottom of the door to see if anyone is out there who will let her out.
If no one does this, she usually resorts to laying down on the pillows that I thoughtfully laid out the night before knowing full well that she would do this. This enables her to rest a bit more (if she wants) and it also relieves me of the duty to pick her up and put her back in the bed. Never mind that she is fully capable of jumping back up on her own. If she wants attention, she will not do it.
So essentially, I have been somewhat awake since 4:20 a.m. today. I went on a walk around 5:15, and left for work around 7:30. I (of course) picked up a latte because there is NO WAY I could fathom any coherent conversation without it. Surprise surprise, I will probably pick up ANOTHER latte on my way to school tonight.
Thus begins the final semester routine.