The Ferris Bueller I’m struggling. Quite a bit right now. I have about 17 pages to write by Monday at midnight. And I’ve been spinning because I don’t know what to do, what to think… and frankly, although I’m — LITERALLY — a dissertation away from my PhD, I want to quit. You know, if I had a do-over, I probably would have — oh what the hell who am I kidding, I would have — gone to another school where I was a little bit more naive, a little bit more insulated, and less of a maverick, risk taker. There, I “said” it (hell, I wrote it for all the webosphere). For many reasons, for many complicated reasons, for as many complicated and deep reasons I chose my school of study, at this time, I’d change my school of study, if I didn’t have so much to lose…… But I wonder how much I lose compared to the gain by staying? How many PhD students leave at the end of their coursework and abandon their dissertation? I already know I wouldn’t ever put PhD/ABD on ANY salutation – that just calls me out as a giant quitter. But what about the reasons one decides to quit?
I stay up so late (12:30 – 1:00, 1:30…, wake up either 2 or 3 am and I either can’t go back to sleep or I oversleep and then am frenzied for the entire day — I totally “get” the frenzied, absent-minded professor schtick, now – because I’m it — but I’m only a part time faculty member and a yet I’m full time frump at work (and I don’t think, in general, objective observation, that I’m an ugly woman; I’m just apparently that capable of making myself so incredibly frizzy and pallid in person, I guess) . Like, really… I get complimented on my hair on days that I actually brush it. BRUSH IT! It happened yesterday. Because taking a brush to my hair is an improvement form how I normally appear….. And the irony of that s how much money I spend on an annual basis for my absolutely genius hair stylist to give me really good hair (if I actually took the time to regularly style it) but instead I either put it in a day-three-post-wash-ponytail, day-one-post-wash-headband/barrette, day-of-wash-french-braid/bun-because-I-dont-have-time-to-dry-it-and-look-professional. Oh my GOSH, I AM the librarian, I AM the school marm… I even have the darn (can you make a hybrid word darmn??) big, dark, glasses (because when I wear them I think people won’t notice I’m not wearing makeup).
I also have boyfriends (okay, okay, ONE) who break up with me because I’m too busy with my work and school to spend an adequate amount of time with him — the hypocrisy is this was a partner in a law firm!!!!! But the truth is I drink wine more nights than I roll out my yoga mat for stress relief and I’ve subsequently bought two larger sizes in my pants since I started in 2009. And I’m obsessed over the studies that are out there reporting on the number of women in academia who sacrifice their family lives (and by that, including ability to have families) because of the stress and the toil of advancing their higher education — am I becoming — wait — have I become part of the statistic of professional and academic women who spent so much time trying to figure out a way to make a sustainable career that wouldn’t render us to depths of social security and welfare in retirement that I am setting myself up (I’ve looked up the definition of spinster – I don’t match that… yet).
But, I really wonder what is the worth of my quality of life? I have to let go of the past, but there is the matter of my present happiness (or general anxiety – hey, when you have multiple care providers offering you meds you start to wonder) and then that of tomorrow. Because =, when you’re sitting at your laptop computer on a Friday night, nonetheless and your face is lined with Biore pore pulling strips you really feel a very strong resonation about the state of your personal union… or lack thereof.
Which brings me to reminiscing of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Art Institute of Chicago, and why right now I am SO certain I know why Cameron had a mild freak out staring at that little girl in Georges Seurat’s painting.