My Second "Last Semester"

Today is the start of my last semester of my Master's program at the Jewish Theological Seminary. It is bitter-sweet - I am anxious for the completion of my second degree and move on to another and to a new beginning in my life, but I have made many great friendships that I will miss and am sad to leave a comfortable location and situation. I have come to thoroughly enjoy this city and my academic atmosphere but I look forward to being in a new place and experiencing a new world-view.

I have decided to allow myself some expectations for this final semester:
  1. Enjoy each class, knowing that there will not be another opportunity to experience this unique setting again.
  2. Spend some more time in the library. (This isn't so much an expectation as a certainty. With comps, final seminar presentation and paper, and summer research presentation at the Bible lunches, I will not be able to enjoy my time unless I spend some serious time in the library.)
  3. Have fun with friends outside of class. This is my last opportunity to enjoy the fun things in this city.
  4. Run a marathon. Yes, I am finally giving in to Katy's urgings and I will sign up for a small marathon!
  5. Organize a kick-ass academic conference. Our committee is nearing the final stages of conference planning and I am seriously looking forward to it!
  6. There will be tears and frustrations, especially in April. If I expect it, then maybe it won't be so difficult to accept. April is crunch time: comprehensive exams, final exams and papers, and the conference. I will be strung out for sure. So this leads into my next point:
  7. WORK AHEAD AND SPACE OUT WORK! I must not be a procrastinator this semester! I need to put time aside every week just to prepare for my comps, which means less time for other things. Holy cow, 50 Bible passages means I need to prepare far more than one chapter a week to be ready on time. That realization is leading me to feel a little panicked. That's a good transition to my next point:
  8. Plan for failure: Though I do not like to think I will not be accepted into any programs to which I applied, I need to be prepared to accept it and move on to something else, which is my last point:
  9. Namely, working to promote social equality, volunteering my skills to improve the quality of life for all peoples world wide, working to end social and human injustices, and exploring a part of the world and a part of humanity I had not known previously. This I will do by volunteering through some kind of organization that promotes all these things, like the Peace Corps, or a similar program with an extended length of volunteer service. I want to participate in a program that will actually change my life and not just set me in a "fun" location for a couple months. I mean to work for this for at least a year. How can you feel that you've made some kind of difference if you don't even get to make significant personal connections or not see something come to fruition if you've only spent a few weeks doing it? That short amount of time only makes the person feel better about his- or herself and won't change him or her. I want to make connections with people!
This semester I will also be a part of wedding preparations for a wonderful pair of friends! I am really looking forward to this! And one of my JTS friends is having her baby soon - very exciting! All-in-all, this semester appears to be jam-packed and I expect a lot of ups and downs and some seriously high-strung moments. I need to remember that I have amazing friends and family upon whom I can rely whenever life seems too much. I imagine graduation day will be a sad moment filled with extreme relief.

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