Plans and Reflections: Flow Charts and Scenic Routes

As you may have deduced from the image and title for this blog entry, I’ve been working on plans for the future and reflecting on myself and the past.  Let’s take these in order, shall we?

Last night I realized – I really need to get back on the ball with this grad school stuff if I ever actually want to apply. My hope is to start in the fall of 2016, but that may get postponed a year, depending on my timing and how life decides to dance with me.  For over a year now, I had the intention to get my MA at a certain university, then I had vague ideas for what kinds of PhDs to look into. It all suited me just fine.

Then came a two-day work meeting last week, both helpful and boring, depending on what seminar you want to talk about. I dreaded these meetings, but I have been trying to stay positive about things this year. I have a nasty habit of dreading doing things – such as these meetings or dinner parties or unexpected obligations – even when, half the time, they aren’t as bad as I’m hyping them up to be. So I’ve been talking with my Skype-based Bible study group (consisting of three people, myself included) about choosing a word to focus on this year and using it as a tool to see how God works in my life. Already, I feel like he’s making changes. Not only have I been a little more willing to do things, but this meeting gave me a wonderful surprise.

I should begin by elaborating that I rarely talk to people at these meetings. There are about 78 people in my prefecture who work as teachers with the JET Program like I do, but most of them aren’t nearby, and, as I don’t like the cities, I usually stay home on weekends and relax. I am also shy and nervous in such large social settings and don’t have much in common with most of the people here, or so I believe from where I sit. When I have to attend these meetings, I crash at one of my friend’s places the night between. We drive to the seminar, go about our day, then I drop him and anyone else staying at his place off and head on home. I don’t talk to many people (not that there’s much time to anyway), and am glad to be back in my own little bubble at the end of it all.

For the life of me, I can’t remember who I talked to about my plans for graduate school. I believe it was one of the few closer friends I’ve made here. At any rate, she gave me the name of a university to look into if I was interested in Japanese-related courses of study. She didn’t know too many details aside from they had a strong Japanese program, so I wrote it down, thanked her, and said I would check it out later. To be honest, I didn’t expect too much. I already had my mind made up to go to this other school.

Last night, around 10PM, I decided now would apparently be a grand time to start sorting through grad school stuff again. I checked out the school my friend recommended, and I felt all the pieces slide right into place. God bless! I still have lots of details to figure out, and my applications may have to be postponed a year, but my excitement for graduate school has been renewed! What’s more – I now have a solid PhD plan in mind, whereas before I had about four options on my plate, none of which were quite perfect.

So this morning I got up, made coffee, and sat right back down to read through more of the school’s sites. I ended up emailing the MA and PhD programs and some old professors of mine as well, and I’m anxious to hear back from them all.

My favorite part of all this, however, has got to be my reflection essay. Sounds boring, right?

Wrong.

While finishing the second email, this one to the PhD program, I suddenly had this idea to write about how I always dabble in subjects, how I thought it was a problem, but how I realize it’s actually pretty great. I won’t go into more detail because I want to save it for potential grad school application requirements and, if I don’t need it for that or after I’ve used it for that, I’ll post it to the blog. Suffice it to say that this concept struck me out of nowhere, and I spent the next two hours or so scribbling in illegible handwriting over twelve paragraphs, with beautiful metaphors and imagery, the likes of which only flow from my hands every now and again (at best).

So, life seems to be falling into place, and I’m ecstatic! (You’ll forgive the shabbier writing in this post and the lack of terribly interesting information as my brain is currently melting into a puddle of “man, I was productive this morning!” pride and relaxation.)

Now I’m off to go try and get some roleplay posts done.
Wish me luck!
Mata, ne! 

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