I am beginning a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing this week. I am indescribably thrilled to go back to school after a year of graduating undergrad, being out of classes, and assimilating into the “real world,” but I will also be working full-time as well (not to mention the Etsy shop and my freelance editing work).
At any rate, I got a severe case of “syllabus hysteria” right after receiving my first email from my professor. Before the first class, I had to read six short stories? Before the second class, I had to finish a novel and write a short story? Before the middle of October, I had to finish a second short story? But we haven’t even been taught how to write yet!
Oh, yeah, it’s a master’s program. I’m already supposed to know how to write.
Theoretically, I didn’t get in on my good looks.
And I digress again. However, the point I’m trying, and failing, to make (due to a relapse of syllabus hysteria) is that I imagine this is a familiar feeling (at least, it is with my close group of best friends, so unless we’re all crazy…). When I first hear my assignments for the class, all at the same time, I get this tightening in my heart. Being a planner and efficiency master, I want to do it all, right now, just in case I wouldn’t have time later. I want to check it off the list, mark as complete, be prepared, show this professor that I’ve got what it takes *picture me standing up righteously on a classroom desk, one fist on my heart, the other hand in the air*.
But I have to resist this urge. I must combat the “get it done” feeling and, basically, ignore a great deal of the syllabus (once, of course, I put all the due dates on my Google Calendar. I’m not that blase about my future, you know) in order to calm myself down and realize there is time.
It’s a delicate balance between luring myself into a false sense of security (“there’s sooo much time, I have forever”), and demanding my exhausted body to read hundreds of pages now.
I don’t just do this with syllabi. I do this with Etsy shop plans (I want to make fifteen new bears? Do it now!), freelance editing jobs (that 400-page manuscript sure looks daunting when you take it in one gulp), and even things that really should be enjoyment (we have to do this, and this, and that, and the other thing. *Picture my fiance dragging hopelessly behind me, hand in mine, while I pull him along going “isn’t this fun?“*).
I’m not proclaiming that I, or anyone else, should just let those chips fall where’er they may (because it will not be in our favor), but I think it would do some good to take things one step at a time.
Do you get this feeling?