I am home from my very last night of class. Last week I turned in my thesis.
I. Am. Done. Finally. After five years of graduate school. It's over.
All that's left is my graduation.
People keep asking me how it feels, if I'm excited. And I smile or shrug my shoulders. But I honestly? It feels anti-climatic.
"I don't think it really means anything," I told my therapist. (Yes - I've been seeing a therapist, that's for another PYHO post)
"Are you depressed?" she asked.
I could only nod because admitting to my depression is something I not ready to say out loud.
I don't know what it means. I'm trying to be excited about it but the finality of it scares me.
The Now What has been looming for the last few months. And now it's here.
I have spent the last five years in graduate school. Fifteen years struggling to obtain my B.A. It's been twenty years of studying, writing, registering and reading. Nearly twenty years trying to juggle work and school and in these last eight raising family. I've moved and gotten married, had a baby, had that baby diagnosed with autism, got pregnant again and suffered an overwhelming loss. I have started this blog and become a writer.
And still. I don't know what it means. I wonder what was the point? And has it been worth it. I've said all along that this degree was for me but I think deep down I wanted it to be more. And right now, it feels like it means nothing.
I will never have to register for another class or fight with the bursar or wait for a grade. I will never have to write another paper or leave work early to make it to class on time. I will never need to sacrifice a weekend to read I don't want to read. And I will never have to write a short story or essay ever again. I should be feeling a sense of freedom.
Instead I feel this overwhelming sense of emptiness. Because now what? Now what do I do with this time? What do I do with this degree, this piece of paper that has no value in my world? Being a student has been a part of my identity that without it - I feel lost.
I started this blog as a class assignment. I was going through a difficult time, mourning a loss and frustrated with the Turning 5 process. I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't over think things - I just wrote.
I've loved and appreciated every opportunity that has come with this blog but these last few months, I have been struggling with it. Struggling to keep up. My confidence in my writing has been shaken and I'm constantly questioning every post I publish. Is it good enough? Will people 'like' it, share it or leave a comment? Stressing over my Google page rank, SEO, analytics and Alexa score and social media reach.
I'm questioning whether I can or should continue. I'm wondering what's the point, if my writing means anything? And is it worth the pressure?
So now what? I don't know.
I'm giving myself till September to figure it out.
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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.