My name is Matthew and I am on the internet a lot.
It’s become something of a semi-annual tradition for me to seriously, “seriously,” contemplate grad school. And every year I give up after a few days, or a few weeks, generally for one of three reasons. First, I tend to have these thoughts at the wrong time—in the spring, for instance, when it’s too late to apply for the following fall semester. Another reason is money. Ten years after completing my undergrad I’m still paying it off, at least when I can, which is not the case some months. The thought of more debt terrifies me. But the third thing, the one I can’t really get over, is my complete inability to have one specific interest. I majored in Anthropology for my B.A., but decided a few years ago that I wouldn’t pay for any more school unless I came out with a practical skill, like photography or video (as opposed to the PhD programs in Cultural Studies that had previously intrigued me, say.) Part of me still wants to make ethnographic documentaries, which I think was my life plan circa 2002, but part of me wants to write novels, or work in a museum, or do humanities programming. I mean part of me is just fine right now, producing literary events and publishing a niche art magazine. But, you know, those are side things and not main things.
It’s fall right now, which is actually the right time to be considering specific grad programs. And, while the money thing sure is daunting, it’s not really any more financially daunting than day-to-day living. I am a pretty broke person right now! So I’m worried and also not worried about the idea of up and moving across the country, of living like a professional adult except without much income for a few years, or, hell, of even filling out applications and taking the GRE. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? Rejections? As a freelancer/professional job hunter I’m pretty used to rejection. Just this weekend, for instance, I was offered an interview by a recruiter hiring for a position completely unrelated to my skillset, to the point where I had to google the acronym in the job title. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t all so dreadful, etc.
So, anyway, now that I’m 33 I’m once again contemplating grad school options. Wish me luck?
This hasn’t been one of the best summers. I think I think that every year by mid-August, when the humidity makes me as irritable as the constant shift between the sweltering outdoors and people’s air conditioned fortresses. This August hasn’t been like that. I’m sure it’s a byproduct of the impending apocalypse, but this has been the most comfortable summer I can remember.
On the other hand, seventy-five degree days haven’t compelled me to the beach like ninety-degree days would, and I haven’t gone to my favorite beach once. In fact I only went to the beach at all twice, and it was so windy the first day and so chilly the second that I didn’t go in the ocean at all.
I did do things, though, although the summer was definitely front-loaded with fun. My only getaway, and it was technically a work trip, was the Provincetown Film Festival, where I watched movies and sat by several pools and managed to sit next to Stephin Merritt at a movie and Barney Frank the following morning at breakfast. Andrew Sullivan even said hello to me.
I also went to doctors, which isn’t fun but which is sort of fun when you haven’t done it since six years ago when you quit the only
you ever had that came with a benefits package. My primary care physician didn’t seem fazed when I mentioned how many alcoholic beverages I consume weekly, although the number sounded absurd to me. But when I mentioned smoking two or three cigarettes a week—only when I’m out, only when I’m with friends, and not even when it’s too hot or too cold to comfortably stand outside for teh minutes—that was a different story. I said I haven’t even bought a pack of cigarettes in six months and she suggested counseling and Chantix. She also told me to lose ten pounds and get a mole on my shoulder checked out.
My new eye doctor told me that my vision is complicated and bad, and that the peripheral vision on one side is so bad that I might have early signs of glaucoma. I looked at glasses and actually found a pair I liked, though I’d never be able to afford them. Then this morning I saw a dermatologist, a loony-looking German whose glasses separate at the bridge and reconnect with a magnet. I had to wait for hours and then was told that the mole was surely benign, though removed it anyway.
Sunday is a beach day. A good friend is moving to the midwest at the end of the month and this is her last hurrah. I will finally, finally spend an hour in the water.
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