Knowing I will leave when I complete this program in another 1.5 years, puts one in the state of transition constantly. Putting down roots? No. Building a community? Mmm, not really. Feeling alone and isolate? Absolutely!
Of course, I have friends, acquaintances, and colleagues spread across the United States, into Canada, and a few even further into the world. But for the most part if one is not a scientist or a science educator, our paths won’t cross in the future. . .on purpose. Most of my peer students are half my age, seeking to make their way into the world, while I have made my way into the world and now hope to learn enough to make necessary changes in science education in particular. I also want to go home to my husband. My mother.
Weekends are spent more often than not quite alone, working on school of course, but any time off, recreating is alone for the most part. I do not like driving for 15-20 minutes just to “go out.” It is hard enough to drive to exercise! Let alone socialize. So I isolate and work so I can finish in my allotted (self-induced timeline). I sit too much. I wither from not seeing the sun, feeling the breeze, or just being outside.
The other morning, beautiful red glow to the east, would have been a glorious sunrise–but tree branches and houses block the horizon. Same is true for sunsets. Again to see those, I must drive. I can see the stars quite well from my back “porch”-really a balcony as there are no stairs but being on the first floor, it is difficult for me to call it a balcony.
When I leave at 4 am on Tuesdays, I do see the wide expanses of the prairie sky, sunrises, and often driving home, sunsets. But again 8 hours of driving for 4-6 hours of interacting with students. These days allow me to be in the country–I dislike leaving and coming back to the “city.” And then I realize, when I finish my program, I will leave these people and this place too.
Transitioning from my life of 30 years to being a graduate student for three and then on to what? Many choices but I don’t want to go far from my 85+ year old mother; I certainly want to live with my spouse again. Why am I here again?
And the questioning, the loneliness, and the life of a lonely graduate student cycles back around; and around; and around. . . .