Friday, April 30, 2010

Survival Strategies

I somehow managed to survive my first year in grad school. I have also managed to (almost) finish my first year of teaching. Additionally I managed to do more than just survive in a long distance relationship; we are thriving and I can't wait to spend part of my summer in California with the boy.

Now that I have all this time on my hands, I've been reflecting on the things that have kept me sane these past eight months. Here is what I've come up with:
  • A good support network of friends and family
  • Poetry Poetry Poetry
  • Hugs from my students
  • Yummy breakfasts at Quiet Storm
  • Watching my poetry take new direction
  • Eating, drinking and being merry
  • Hulu and Netflix streaming
  • Reading the amazing Weave submissions
  • Manilla file folders
This list is in no way exhaustive, but it's a pretty good range of some of the places I've found solace. I will admit there were some other, not so healthy ways I've used to cope with stress (binge eat pizza all weekend!). I'm still learning a lot about stress management and what works well for me. From experience I've learned that no one thing is the cure all for everyone. I'm also learning who I can and cannot lean on, which is stressful in and of itself.  It's a process that I will continue to refine this summer in preparation for next fall. What are your stress management techniques?

I have also been thinking a lot about my thesis. I've been to read a book or so a day in order to really allow the work of others to shape me and my poetry. I want to be well prepared in the fall in order to ground myself amongst the work of others before me. What are you reading now? Suggestions?
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