New Leaves 

We woke up rather early this morning (okay 7:00 a.m., which I know most people won't consider early) to take my girlfriend's car to a body shopped to have it assessed for damages. It was stolen early this month and hasn't worked quite right ever since.

After spending about an hour at the body shop, she drove my to school so she could go to work. After depositing my books and computer in my office, I went to the library to check out a book recommended to me by my professor. (He wants me to use it for my final paper that is still incomplete.) After which, with book in hand, I walked to the bank on the corner to withdraw enough money to buy a slurpee at seven-eleven. Unhealthy, you say? Well, yes, you're right, but it has become an indulgence that I am not quite ready to give up. After all, it has been at least 80 degrees today already, and it is not even 10:00 o'clock in the morning. Besides, I think that a slurpee has less calories and sugar than a frappachino(?) from Starbucks, plus it is a lot less expensive.

New Leaves

Of course, what I really want to blog about are the thoughts I had walking back to the office from the seven-eleven. Since the deadline for me to get my work done has officially passed, I don't feel as much pressure about getting the work done as I did the day before. So, ironically, I think that I can work on my paper with a lot less stress. I decided, with help and advice from friends (and the counselor), that whether I am kicked out of the program or not, I will finish these papers. For my own mental health, I will finish what I have started.

But, feeling less pressure was not the insight I wanted to blog about. What occurred to me when I was walking was that, in order to get all of this work done, I have to see myself as a professor, with as much right to say what I want about these topics as anyone. Unlike an undergraduate student, I have an office, a mailbox, and training in how to teach a writing class. I should step up the plate. It may sound corny to say, but I need to be a little more grown up about my own responsibilities than I have been. This new perspective on myself gives me more confidence to get what I know needs to be done--done.

I will read the book that I checked out this morning from the library. And if I can't read all of it, I will read most of it. After completing my unfinished papers, I will rededicate myself to studying the theoretical background in literature theory. I will start to enjoy reading in my field more. And eventually, I will learn to do what has been hardest of all, discipline myself.
A mantra has been running through my head this morning, and I don't want to forget it: "Zhaf, you have to do for you."

Therefore, I will begin to think of myself as a Professor in training: Dr. Zhaf, educated in English literature, with an emphasis on Modernism (or 19th century).

17 August 2004
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