No need to check my bag. I only brought my ninja skills.

I did it. I graduated with my Master of Library and Information Studies… and as with many should-be-boring events in my life, I made it an adventure with my finesse and ninja skills.

ninja
Me. Just lying. I’d lose a nipple just taking this picture.

In 2010, I received my Bachelor’s degree from Central University, a smaller college known for being the best teaching school in the state. Because of its size and the fact that the ceremonies were divided by college, graduation was held in the gym. My Master’s degree, however, came from University of State, which offers the only degree in several states that is accredited by the American Library Association. Attending a large state university means I officially get to align myself with a football team like it’s my religion, along with several thousand other people in the Midwest .. who were all at my fucking graduation ceremony.

huge crowd
I’ve never exaggerated anything in my life.

Having been told to be at the convention center by 9:15, I decided to leave at 8:45 for the 45 minute drive. Graduation wasn’t until 10:00. Why would I want to wait for 45 minutes when putting on a robe takes like three? Furthermore, it was only the College of Arts and Sciences, so just like my undergrad, it wouldn’t be that crowded. It’s funny how seven years of college left me how-does-she-not-drown-in-the-shower stupid.

shower

Not only was I running late to graduation, but my Gramma was as well, since she didn’t want to drive down alone. Now, just to be clear, my Gramma is the best person in my life. She’s also the most pessimistic. When her football team is ahead by three touchdowns and loses the ball, she will shout “Well, we’ve lost it now!” at the T.V. and try to kick me out before the game ends. I’m not kidding. I had to threaten to never watch another game with her if she wouldn’t let me finish the one on the screen. Therefore, the entire trip to the convention center went like this…

Gramma: “You’re not gonna make it, Belle.”
Me: “Thank you, Gramma. I appreciate the input.”
Gramma: “There’s no way you’re gonna make it in time.”
Me: “Thank you, Gramma. That’s not really helping.”
Gramma: “We should have left earlier.”
Me: “Why, yes, Gramma. I hadn’t considered that.”

The traffic was nearly as terrible as the road work and I hate to drive… probably because I suck at it. This is one time I desperately regreted my single status, because I (not all woman-kind, Gail) would have loved a penis behind the wheel. I wish there were some way to thank the man in the Dodge in front of me for not pulling out a gun, because in my stress I was pretty much on top of him. He kept kindly motioning for me to not follow so closely, an oddly civil reaction to road rage in the Midwest. I tried. I really did. But in my stress, I would just inch more closely all over again. It really didn’t matter how I drove, though, because even when I wasn’t following closely, I got the same response from my Gramma every single time I braked.

Gramma: “Belle!”
Me: “Gramma, I have never been in a wreck. I see that he’s stopped. I’m not going to hit him.”
Gramma: ::Gasp::
Me: “That’s it, Gramma! No more sounds from you! You are on mute, now!”

By the time I pulled up to the convention center, I was convinced I wouldn’t be allowed to walk, because I was so late… and because my Gramma kept telling me so. It was 9:53. I asked her to park the car and bolted toward the door… only to forget my hat and sigh with relief that she hadn’t taken off yet. I rushed back to the door and saw the sign saying I needed to be at the south entrance. I was at the north entrance and it was 9:55. I ran full-throttle to the south entrance… and forgot I was in knee-high leather heeled boots. Stepping off the sidewalk was either a godsend, for it didn’t destroy my legs, or a curse because it caused me to fall in the first place. Either way, I went down. Hard. No one even laughed, it was such an epic fall. When a man asked if I was okay, I shouted “I’m good!” and rolled and jumped up action-movie-style to take off. In my haste, however, I didn’t fully catch my balance and re-face-planted immediately. I took slightly more care getting up that time, shouted “I lied! But I’m good now!” and took off again. Ultimately, my big action scene was far more Will Farrell than Jason Statham.

will ferrell

When I finally got to the south end of the convention center, I was somewhat rumpled and a professor helped me right the ridiculous collar for which I paid $64 last semester and I realized my tassel said 2012, because I’d intended to walk in December before failing my portfolio. My professors were glad to see me, though the time was a bit embarrassing, seeing as how the undergrads had already started walking. As an asthmastic, I couldn’t really handle the run and stress of the morning and once we were seated, kept coughing…

Woman beside me: “I wish I had a cough drop for you.”
Translation: God, I hope I don’t have to listen to that for two fucking hours.

I did my best to shut up while inventorying my injuries, at which point I realized my knuckles were bleeding and my knees were bruised. I texted Gail to tell her this and the conversation went as follows:

text
My phone kept correcting my sarcastic “Bestie” to “Beastie”. Gail is now stuck with this nickname.

My dad texted to ask where I was. I told him I was the one in the hat. I made sarcastic comments to my little sister, Bea, about how she shouldn’t wear anything under her robe when she graduates high school in a week, because it’s so fucking hot. I believe there was a recommendation to wear baseball pasties (she’s a baseball manager) and fling the robe off into the crowd. Since her nippels wouldn’t be showing, it wouldn’t even be illegal. She declined my advice. Ungrateful little shit. The rest of the ceremony pretty much went the same way. I texted and completely ignored the generic speech so clearly directed toward traditional undergrads.

Speaker: “It seems only yesterday we were moving into our dorms…”
text to Bea: I’m pretty sure I know the official melting point of human flesh.

The names were called.
Bea: I must really love you.
Me: Hey. They’re giving you baby name ideas for when you get knocked up in your freshman year. Pay attention.

I worked to subtly take off the sweater I had under my robe… and failed.
Me: “It’s shockingly difficult to undress beneath a graduation robe.”
Woman annoyed by my coughing: silence

Since my mother is as insane as her mother is adorable, she spent the entire ceremony staring at me through a pair of binoculars… from about 50 yards away. I kept mouthing “find Gramma” at her and texting her to say that I’d had her park the car and would hate for her to sit alone, since I made her late. My mother did not budge, nor did she redirect the binoculars. I could see this clearly, because she was fifty fucking yards away. Finally, I found my grandmother (without a telescope, I might add) and texted Bea to tell her she was on the same row, not far from her, my dad, and step-mom. Minutes later, Bea sent me a text saying they’d found my Gramma and were all chatting outside. My dad made the extra effort to find his ex-mother-in-law and keep her company, while my mother…

binoculars
… was otherwise preoccupied.

The drive home was significantly less stressful and I laughed and chatted with my Gramma the whole way. When we got back to town, I realized how much my boots were hurting my feet… only to later see the bruise wrapping the left one. My poor knuckles are still raw and a good night’s sleep brought to my attention the pain coursing through my shoulder and left arm. Battle scars. Graduating is hard, y’all.

Gramma: “I can’t believe you made it. I just knew you wouldn’t. I kinda figured you’d miss it.”

Online Dating: Holy S#!+, I Don’t Have Time for This

late

There’s not a lot more to it than that title. I talked to this nice guy a bit. He wasn’t particularly attractive, but he was Catholic and an engineer. Then he asked if we could hang out sometime and I played the scenarios in my head.

1. He thinks things are going great and I don’t like him because he keeps using the phrase “needless to say”. There’s some legitimate reason to run that I’m not addressing. I realize it later when I tell Gail about his obnoxious quirk and she interrupts to say “Wait. He had blood and fur under his fingernails?!?!?!” I’ve wasted a night I could’ve been working on my graduate portfolio. This is the likeliest outcome.

2. I really like him and think it’s going somewhere, even though my heart is dead, and he doesn’t return the sentiment. His rejection… makes my heart deader? I’ve wasted a night I could’ve been working on my graduate portfolio. This is not super likely.

3. We really hit it off. I give the first guy ever a second date that I don’t cancel the day before because I’ve just realized he asked me to his place the night we met, called me fat, and said my degree was stupid. I shit you not, on that one. Anyway, we start to spend time together… a lot of time. I fret over how to do the whole “relationship thing” without fucking it up. This time and energy could be spent on my portfolio, but isn’t and then I fail my last chance at grad school and blame him. My life is over. This is the least likely scenario.

Online dating. Holy shit I don’t have time for this.

A couple of weeks ago, Catholic Engineer and I were sending each other really long and interesting messages and had mentioned meeting. I was taking longer between each message, thinking about whether or not I should bother, considering responding to him at all was tough to fit into my day. He sent me a message addressing that and included the thought that he didn’t mind waiting, because I was worth it. That could’ve been an “aww” moment or a “dude, clean the semen off my window and get out of that tree” moment. It’s the internet, y’all. I was a little creeped out, but knew I might be being unreasonable. Then I pictured a future without my MLIS and stopped logging into PoF without another word or explanation… because I’m an asshole. Since then, I’ve admitted that I was only using PoF as an entertaining distraction from homework, because Facebook gets old and some profiles are funny. I’ve been able to avoid the site since then, because if I sign in and see all of these unopened messages from Catholic Engineer, I’m going to feel like a dickhole… or be terrified. I have a hierarchical checklist now:

Portfolio

Graduation

Career

Boys

I had a chart I made in Paint, with the intention of demonstrating this, but it kind of implied that “Boys” was the ultimate goal, The Holy Grail of my twenties and I value myself more than that. It’s only hierarchical in the sense that I’m not moving forward until I accomplish each individual goal, not the sense that my life isn’t complete until I suck more dick. Maybe that’s not what hierarchical technically means, but I don’t have time to look it up, because I should be finishing that paper.

All that being said, I’m off dating right now. It’s stressful and time-consuming and I’ve got more important shit going on in my life. Going to the bars takes even more time and the results are even less satisfying. Dedicating myself to not dating has actually been super freeing, in a way. I don’t feel guilty for not going out or giving Internet dates a shot. I’ve just chosen not to do this right now, because I can’t. I’m twenty-fucking-five and despite the fact that the Midwest is perpetually warning of the sand quickly running through my uterus, I’ll have time for it later.

I’m sorry I ate your Christmas candy, but I’m joining the Marines.

If you’ve spent five minutes either with me or reading my blog, you know I’m wound as tightly as a fucking slinky, when it comes to school… and lots of other stuff.

Yesterday was the last day to substitute teach before Chirstmas break and the end of my three week Perpetual Work and Homework Kill Fest. It was also the day I awaited the opinion of my professor on the first essay I wrote for my Directed Reading course, which focuses on preparing me for my re-Portfolio.

So, I anxiously substituted 6th graders who were super mega-on-crack excited that Christmas break was coming. Their teacher received several Christmas gifts, which I paid little notice and set to the side. I glanced at the ziplock bag with chocolate in it and wasn’t even sure what it was.

The day wore on. I checked my e-mail. I checked my e-mail through the internet instead of the app, in case all apps were broken. I checked to make sure my original message had sent. I made sure my follow-up “I really did try to find more supplementary literature” e-mails had sent. Yes. That was plural. I re- read my essay. I re-searched for supplementary literature and verified that it wasn’t available. Then the third class of the day hit.

Student: “That candy’s probably going to go bad. Are you going to eat it?”
Me: laughing “I’m not going to eat your teacher’s candy.”

Is that chocolate covered peanut brittle? I didn’t even know that was a thing. I guess it makes sense. It sounds good. Well. Maybe just one piece. It’s not like she’s going to notice.

So I did it. I stole one piece.

I checked my e-mail again. I read my book, which was about a woman who was an ex-marine. I say that as if it wasn’t just more werewolf porn with  a tertiary plot, so you’ll think I read deep literature.

Text Message
11:33 Me: My professor has had 13 hours to read and respond to my essay. I so failed it and will never be a librarian.

Perhaps she hasn’t read it. No, no. She always responds early. Likelier, she’s grading it. If it’s taking that long, she must be pretty unhappy with it. Oh, God. What if she hates it? I didn’t find any supplementary literature. But there wasn’t any! Maybe there was. Maybe I’m just implementing poor searching tactics. That’s what a librarian is fucking FOR and I can’t find anything?!?!?

I quietly comforted myself with a miniscule piece of peanut brittle.

Text Message
11:41 Me: She so thinks I’m an idiot with no knowledge of information theory.

Oh, God. What if she’s trying to properly phrase her e-mail explaining that I’m really just not cut out for this and should probably consider another career path? What if she wants to give me my rejection over the phone?!?! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. What would I do? I could teach. Teacher’s do get Christmas candy. This peanut brittle is really good. I wonder if I could make peanut brittle. I’d likely end up in the E.R. and I can’t afford that. I only have healthy insurance for son long, though. May as well try now. Oh my god, what if I can’t be a librarian?!?!?! I won’t have healthy insurance, either! I could join the military. I could make a career out of that. I already own guns.

11:42 Me: Oh my gosh, I’m making myself sick over this.

But we’re at war. What if I join the military and I get hurt in some kind of fire fight? I don’t even know what a fire fight is, but I read it in that book and it sounded really bad, like it involved flame throwers. I doubt that’s the case, though. It’s a little irrational to assume the U.S. military employs flame throwers. I doubt that would be a sanctioned fighting tactic. It probably wouldn’t be terribly effective. It could maim me, though. I could lose a leg or an ear or they could have to fashion me a new pair of lips from my groin skin. I wouldn’t even have a vagina anymore! You can’t have sex without a vagina. No one would ever date me or marry me and I would die alone!

12:08 Me: It’s been 13 and a half hours!
12:13 Gail: Chill! She is running late!

Summary: It’s been 13 and half hours since I sent my paper. I am legitimately concerned that this means I’ll lose my lips in a horrendous accident and therefore die alone.

Oh, my god, I’ve got to calm down. I’m going to throw up or cry and I’m working… sort of. Substituting is really undemanding. One more piece of candy won’t make any difference.

Another excruciating two hours passed, where I looked up several peanut brittle recipes, read a little, and was just about to Google the U.S. Marines requirements. Ha. Like I could pass the psych tests? I noticed I had an e-mail. It simply announced that her comments were attached, along with the suggestion for my next paper. No encouragement, no defecation. The attachment, however, began with “Well done!”

Oh, fuck. She’s using the sandwich method. She’s going to offer a compliment and then criticism and then another compliment. This is bad.

Gail: mocking me “You have really nice hair. You should never be a librarian. I really like how into your computer you are.”

One: that was an odd compliment, there, Gail. Two: I was wrong, of course. She loved the paper and appreciated the literature I did include. There was no criticism at all, just a few recommendations for databases I could search next time. Finally, I could breathe easy and enjoy my piece of peanut brittle.

Fuck. I just ate 3/4 of her candy. It’s really unlikely this teacher is going to think a student left her 3 pieces of peanut brittle. Should I throw it away? No. Then she won’t thank the student. It doesn’t say who brought it to her, though. But what if they ask her about it? She’s probably not going to notice how little is in there. Besides. Her name wasn’t on it. I mean really. It’s unlikely she’ll notice and more unlikely she’d blame me, because who the fuck eats someone else’s Christmas candy!?!?! Maybe I could leave her a note saying there was some, but I spilled soda on it. Maybe I could make her more and sneak it in here on the first day back.

Gail: “Okay. If you just happened by and saw this bag, would you think it was new or that someone had been snacking on it?”
…..

…..

…..

Me: “Yeah… I should’ve just taken it.”

I did, indeed try to make peanut brittle.

becca convo
When it turned out poorly, I put it in bags and gave it as gifts to coworkers. I may as well get a pat on the back for the consideration behind my crap cooking skills. It was so chewy, you had to pick it off your teeth. My gums are literally still bleeding.

peanut brittle

My coworkers won’t be getting any of my second batch. I suppose they won’t be taking my vagina away just yet. At least not before my military fire fight days.

Well, that was almost a milestone: a graduate student’s descent into madness…

I got my grades yesterday. I still “didn’t pass” my portfolio and have to present again in March (or April if I freak out in February), so I’m not really done. I’m just done with the required coursework. This totally would’ve been an awesome accomplishment if I hadn’t messed up the portfolio. I’d be celebrating. Instead, I’m still completely freaking out about the portfolio and reading every textbook cover to cover, because I’m insane.

studying

I’m aware of my insanity…

and my academic obsession, because I would never expect from others what I expect from myself. Ever.

Which is good, because getting my grades went like this:

Oh, thank God, I got an A! I got an A!

ecstatic

Wait. What’s this? I only got a 94? She wrote that she was generous with grades and the people who got a 95-100 put in more effort. I mean, that’s true, but still. I only got a 94? What does that mean? What should it have been? Did I basically get a B? I GOT A FUCKING B?!?!?!

confused

Why did I get a midrange A? Why didn’t I get a high A? No wonder I didn’t pass the portfolio. I’m too stupid to get a high A. 

What did I get in the other class? ANOTHER 94?!?! I guess it rounds to a 95 at 94.6, but it still says ninety fucking four! I actually did some of the readings in that class and it was only a 4000 level course that wasn’t even required and I got a 94?!?!?!

I’m officially the stupid child. My dad’s going to think I’m an idiot just like the portfolio committee did when I said I didn’t know what Reference was. Ugh. I can’t believe I said that. Then I told them I’d break up Reference and Non-Fiction again and didn’t even have a reason. I want to die of embarrassment all over again.

A 94?!?!?! What fucking moron gets a 94 in Children’s Literature?!?!?! I’m never going to be a librarian!

crying girl

Oh my gosh. I’m totally about to cry over a midrange A. TWO midrange A’s… because I’m midrange, which is the same as average. I cannot cry at work. I cannot cry at work.

I need therapy and to never, ever get a PhD.

insane girl

Mushroom Cloud Over Madison

Aside

I’ve been feeling a bit agoraphobic for the last day or two. Gail tried to diagnose me with social anxiety disorders that she Googled* and I told her to shake her rat bones at someone else, insisting that psychology is a bunch of voodoo witchcraft. In actuality, I completely believe in the effectiveness of psychology, which is why it freaks me the hell out. I don’t want anyone cracking open my skull and taking a shit in it. Despite my discomfort, I went to Mass today, wearing jeans and a pink t-shirt, which I never do (dresses, usually). I huddled into my coat the entire time thinking about how if I transformed into a lion, I could run out. I’m not sure why that required being a lion, since I did, in fact, leave immediately after Communion.

*She majored in pyschology for the most annoying week and a half, so that’s an exaggeration, for which she’ll call me a bitch. As a matter of fact, she’ll call me a bitch for this side note too.

I’m just still not in a good place over my academic set-back. I’ve convinced myself, somehow, that this lessens my chances of ever being a librarian, regardless of my future success on the portfolio. The rational part of me knows that the job market hasn’t changed in the last week and won’t in the next six months. The irrational part of me, however, is still crying in bewilderment over a ridiculously large Old Chicago cookie about how the only life left for me must reside in the virtual world. Huh. Just made the connection from that to this blog. Ultimately, I know that I’ve been in worse places in life. Gail herself said “Hey. Look on the bright side. You’re not married.” Damn. Fucking. Straight. But it’s still a crushing blow for me. I don’t fail at things. I do a little less than expected and cry my eyes out over it, but I don’t actually fail.

ward - foot in mouth
Yeah. He did.

If it seems exaggerative, that’s a text from my friend, Ward, who has seen me in tears over a B or the infamous 98.5% assignment. I still haven’t told my guy friends about my delayed graduation. I kind of plan to avoid telling them and then just swear it was May the whole time. They’ll know something happened and that I can’t talk about it without crying and making them uncomfortable because they have penises. Win/win.

After a day of laying around in leggings and an oversized t-shirt, reading blogs and trashy supernatural romance novels, I got this super encouraging E-mail from my professor. He told me he looks forward to my re-presentation (word I made up) and that he’s sure I’ll do great. Either my portfolio defense wasn’t as bad as it seemed, or my instructors think I’m about to swan dive from the top of the college library after E-mailing to promise them that I’m going to re-read everything ever. It’s likely the latter, because I’m absolutely certain that a mushroom cloud went up over Madison as I gave that awful presentation. Then, first born sons mysteriously died. There was even a run on the banks for some reason. It was really bad.

Regardless, my professors don’t want to kill my spirit, and that’s what I took out assloads of loans for, am I right?!?! Honestly, I think they have faith I’ll do well. They wouldn’t be encouraging me to present in March if they didn’t, when I can have up to a year to prepare. Even I know I’ll fix this, deep down. But I still have these fits of “WHAT IF I DON’T?!?!?” Being a librarian is all I want. I went through so much to get here and I might lose it. I have no backup. I want no backup. The idea of not being able to do this job breaks my heart.

I feel like my whole life has stalemated until I pass this. I’ve decided to give up dating until I’ve graduated. That’s partly an excuse, just because I’m REALLY bad at it, but it’s still a distraction I can’t afford. I don’t have time for funny bad dates. Nor do I have time to hit it off with someone who demands a substantial chunk of my life. School. Career. Then boys.


That time I tried to be sexy…

I wish I could just cope with this adjustment and move on. I wish I could just get excited that I only have one more class left. I wish the stress would stop taking root in the form of feeling naked when I’m in public. Tomorrow’s the start of a new week, I suppose. At least I’ve come down from my promise that I’d only dedicate an hour a day to entertainment and the rest would be to studying. I’m too obsessive a person for this.

Gail: “Get out your laptop and fix this.”

I’m clinging to those words.

A Chronicle of My First Failure Since the Driver’s Test

When I failed the driver’s test at 16, I cried for hours.I couldn’t even talk about it for months afterward. Two months ago, I wept because I made a 98.5% on an assignment. I felt it deserved a 100%. I was heartbroken. I was also a complete pain in the ass to anyone who would listen to my “woe is me, I”m 1.5% less than perfect” rant. So… take that and imagine my reaction when I “did not pass” my End of Program Assessment for graduate school yesterday. “Fail” is too negative a term for graduate students, which I swear have some of the most delicate selves-esteem in regards to their intelligence. Ironic huh? Following is a dramatic retelling of yesterday’s ordeal.

The committee sat with bated-breath, awaiting a presentation on the depth of my learning experience during my last two years in graduate school.

I entered and promptly presented to them… an orange.

A Chronicle of My First Failure Since the Driver's Test
… but it was an awesome damned orange.

That’s pretty much exactly what happened. I had the complete wrong idea of what was expected of me. My original advisor was a woman constantly being encouraged to retire. She rarely responded to e-mails and gave me a pat on the back and a thumbs up each time I presented her with what I’d accomplished for my portfolio. Then she retired without telling me and I had to acquire a new advisor the summer before presenting. My new advisor is kind and gentle… too gentle. She didn’t tell me that what I had sucked… and was a fruit. So, as I started speaking and saw the committee member’s faces, I knew I had it wrong. I was presenting an overview of what I thought would make me a good librarian, not an in-depth presentation of my learning experiences in relation to YALSA approved standards and objectives. I’m talking about how working circulation has helped me to put a smile on my face when this guy’s acting like a dick, and they’re wanting to hear about the Public Relations tactics I’ve learned in my Public Relations course. I knew I was screwed and just became more and more flustered to the point that, when asked what the purpose of a Reference Collection was, I actually said “I don’t know.” No. Fucking. Joke.

As I stood waiting while they convened, I began to think up other possible careers. I texted Gail and told her it was all over. She told me to relax, I probably did fine. I didn’t respond, knowing very well this was bad. I was going to have to change the name of my blog. “I don’t know.” What the fuck? I do, too, know! A Reference Collection houses Almanacs and Encyclopedias. I just didn’t know I would be asked that or that I’d show up to the singing competition with my prized dancing mule.

A Chronicle of My First Failure Since the Driver's Test
Mildred. You expected a boy, didn’t you?

I sat down as they opened the door, shocked that I was intuitive enough to recognize the body language and energy of someone who was about to announce that I had cancer and had taken a shit all over the presentation podium.

“We’re disappointed.”

My first thought was “But can you pass me anyway?”

I pretty much just heard a roar of white noise in my ears after that. I remember blaming my advisor situation and then trying to simultaneously say that I wasn’t trying to blame my advisor situation and telling them that I just didn’t understand the portfolio requirements. I truly didn’t. I’m not going to lie. There a lot of readings I didn’t do. There were times when I zoned out during lectures or participated minimally during discussions and that is why I couldn’t talk about these things at the drop of a term. Call it a curse of online learning, but you don’t actually have to know what anyone is talking about when you can just Google the term to remind yourself before responding. However, had I understood the requirements of the portfolio, I’d have brushed up. I’d have known the term and realized that when I was asked how my searching techniques now differ from when I began the program, they weren’t talking about my ability to use the word “and” in the search box. They wanted to know what I’d learned in my Knowledge Management course.

At this point, I’m pretty much just proud that I didn’t beg them to pass me or burst into tears about how “I do, too, know what a Reference Collection is! I promise! IT’S BOOKS! IT’S ALL BOOKS!” and then run out of the room crying. I kept my big girl panties on and I asked questions while three people told me how much I sucked. I made arrangements with my advisor for the 2 hour Directed Reading course that will help me focus on my revision and re-presentation of my portfolio in March. I walked to my car and called my Gramma and assured her that I was not joking, I had actually failed. I called my dad and told him that I was the slow child and I was sorry I’d disappointed him. He told me I was being ridiculous. I went out with Gail and I wallowed and made jokes about how they kicked me out of college and made me ride the short bus home. I talked about how if I fail again and I don’t get my masters degree, I’m going to have to build a rich life in the World of Warcraft, because my life here is over. She laughed and told me that at least I’m still funny. I went home and I cried. I canceled work for today (substitute teaching, which can actually be canceled the night before and no one cares) and slept restlessly. My prayers last night were along these lines.

“Thank you Lord for all you’ve given me and please help me to move forward. [tearfully] Please, please let me pass next time and give me the motivation to work for it. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me for my sins. Thank you. Amen.”

In the night, my pain eased. As I tossed and turned, I’d wake up with a little less heartache, the pit in my stomach a little softer. I woke at 7:00 and knew that I could still accept a sub job, but decided I’d rather pout. Thirty minutes later, I got out of bed and grabbed my textbook for my current class. I began to read from page one, highlighting for notes. I ordered the textbook from the last class I breezed through as well. I messaged my advisor telling her the times we could meet and that I was rereading my old texts. I went grocery shopping and bought note cards and pretty pens for color-coding because I’m insane. I called my manager and secured every Wednesday off for the next semester. I explained I had two more hours I had to take, knowing full well that she’s a librarian and knew I had my presentation yesterday and failed. I put the embarrassment aside, because that is one of the worst parts. I hide behind a different persona at work to a psychologically unhealthy extent anyway (another entry for another time). Why should this be any different? I went to lunch with my dad and he reassured me I’ll pass.

I love my dad, but he doesn’t know me all that well. Gail is the person who knows me best in the world and she didn’t know if she should leave me alone last night, because she thought I might hurt myself. I’m not saying it was rational, but yes, that was a valid fear. My dad, however, felt he should begin sentences with “… and if you don’t pass…”

NO! Shut the fuck up! I WILL pass. That’s the only thing I want to hear. I’m not saying I’ll pass by fate or magic. I’ll pass because I spent the whole day reading and ordering textbooks. I’ll pass because I have six months to learn the theories of information services inside out. I’ll pass because I WILL read a minimum of two hours a day on information theories and articles about current trends in the library world. I may still be the worst driver on the planet, but I will learn this stuff to the point that I have no fucking social life beyond this blog and text messages to Gail if that is what it takes. I will not get used to failure and develop better coping mechanisms than eating an entire Old Chicago, because I won’t fail.

And in the meantime, I will slip behind my work persona, Winifred, and tell everyone I have one more class to take, consoling myself with the fact that it is not a lie. They just assume… and eventually write the blog entitled “Winifred.”