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*calm before the storm* A Day in My Life Preparing for Grad School!

Hi friends, I’m coming to you from the stationary bike at LA fitness. Proof below, just to set the scene:

Pedaling here in the middle of the day feels like the calm before the storm, because tomorrow is my first day back on campus! Although our official first day back is August 30th, second years are coming in the middle of the summer to wrap up a class in person.

I feel ready for the transition from Zoom to an in-person setting. For those who remember when I lamented my lack of organization, I decided to make changes. Sometimes you say you are going to change something but don’t actually do that. In my case, though, I knew that a change was overdue. For example, I was standing in my own way by resolutely refusing to have a planner. Now, it is my fourth week of writing in my planner every day! Decluttering my room from top to bottom also did the trick, although there were some minor tussles over how much I was donating. My mom: “your room looks like a desert!”

My grandma, in a concerned tone: “I thought you weren’t moving out just yet?” As I tidied up, I made a “clutter free policy” on every single flat surface in my room; somehow, having empty space to look at is calming.

To continue preparing for school, I took a look at my outfits. My friend Deanna was able to warn me about my school’s business casual dress code, owing to the fact that she did the July workshop instead of the August one. I looked down at the light-wash denim skirt that I wore to hang out with her. I made an all-encompassing gesture at my outfit. “This won’t work, right?” I asked.

This is me wearing a denim skirt and white shirt; it’s kind of my uniform.

“No one’s going to arrest you,” she joked, “but you’d feel out of place.” So I picked a collared shirt, a sleek skirt, and heels for my first day back. I may be 20, but my wardrobe was about to look more like my parents’ than my own.

With outfits and organization all done, I had a few errands to run. Since today is Sunday, I had to turn in paperwork for the company that I work for, which is Continuity Care. That went smoothly. Also on my to-do list was applying for a reduced rate TAP card (I will be commuting to grad school by train).

Here she is!

This TAP application (TAPlication?) required for me to send all sorts of documents. I emailed them everything and was proud to have that all sorted. Then, I worked on the CPR certification that my practicum site wants, which is made like a video game. Your character is put into rooms with people who have varying amounts of distress. In each room, you must choose how to help them.

After doing those little tasks, I figured I’d stop at the gym, which is located on a hill.

Here’s what I didn’t expect: as I was leaving the gym, I rolled immediately and rapidly backwards. I thanked my lucky stars that no car was parked behind me, and that instead, the butt of my Prius landed in an empty spot. Bravely, I tried to exit this lot a second time. Once again, my car decided to act more like a shopping cart than a sturdy vehicle and continue rolling. By this point, I was panicking. I was either going to die here or hit something and die at home (my mom would kill me once she discovered the wreck!).

Not knowing what else to do, I parked my sorry car in the middle of this hill, not quite up, not quite down, with the parking brake back in action. “Mom!” I panicked into the phone, my words coming in short little gasps. “I’m stuck on a hill and I don’t know how to get out!!” She told me what to do: have one foot on brake, one foot on gas, release brake slowly… But I was too panicked to absorb much. “You have two options,” she said finally. “You can do it yourself, or you can find a man with a wedding ring and ask him to move the car for you.”

“Why a wedding ring?” I asked, finally calming down enough to understand actual words.

“This way, he won’t have an ulterior motive. He will just be a good person, and you will feel safe.” By this point, I had calmed down enough to follow her earlier instructions and was more than halfway up this hill, which was cause for celebration. No man had to be called. I arrived home in one piece, my relief palpable.

Anyway, y’all. It’s now 6 pm, and I’m just happy to have an intact Prius and an intact body on this fine Sunday. I feel ready for tomorrow. I’m about to take a shower and do some reports for work.

Before I sign off (and because this blog is turning into a novella), I have just one more thing to talk about. I’ve been thinking about how long this whole doctoral program is. There are 4 years of schooling, 1 year of paid internship, and 1 year of paid post doc, but I literally won’t be licensed until I’m 25. That feels forever away. Usually, I think about hitting fast forward and being a real doctor already. But today, for the first time, I was excited not for the future but for tomorrow. And it’s a really good feeling to enjoy the season of life that you are currently in!


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Hi everyone! I started my doctorate in clinical psychology in fall 2020. A google search revealed that there are no current grad school blogs for psychology students. Anyway, I happen to know a girl who wants to document her journey to getting a doctorate (spoiler: it's me). Welcome. Hope you stay awhile!

5 thoughts on “*calm before the storm* A Day in My Life Preparing for Grad School!

  1. Enjoy your second year of grad school! It must be exciting to return to in-person classes. 🙂 I have a review meeting for my master’s degree in the autumn and I’ll be meeting my academic supervisor in person for the first time after doing all our meetings virtually. Looking forward to it!
    I remember getting stuck on a hill with my first car, and I accidentally made the tyres squeal when I took off as I pressed the accelerator too much. Oops!


  2. I had to laugh about the story of the Prius! My (now ex-)wife and I didn’t live together (or even on the same continent) before we were married. She’d never driven a car with manual transmission before she arrived out here so I gave her a couple of lessons in my old Corolla. Anyway, not long after we were married and I’d gone back to work I got a panicky call from her. She’d driven down to the post office and parked on a (small) slope. She then found she couldn’t make the car reverse! So, there I was talking her through the process: “now, push the accelerator down a little more, and let the clutch out a tiny bit … and now a tiny bit more; now, by now the car should be shaking … no, if the car’s not shaking you’re not doing it right. Now … oh, the engine died? Never mind: just start again and we’ll have another go…”
    We went out that weekend and bought a car with automatic transmission.


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