I'm still here! Still crafting, eating, petting cats and doing all those other things I love to do. I'm done with the exams, and I passed sooo.... now I get to write a dissertation! I know, maybe some people thought I would receive a degree after all that. No no, I just get the pleasure of continuing to be in graduate school. I kid, but I really do love what I do. I just need a little time to regroup.
Obviously I knew the buildup to taking the exams would be stressful. I'd been preparing for them for, oh, a year or so. One tough thing about academia is that there's really no time when you shouldn't be working. For the sake of your own sanity you have to learn to establish boundaries for yourself. The hard thing about exam prep is that those boundaries really broke down, and I spent the whole last year feeling guilty and panicked whenever I wasn't studying. Even sometimes when I was. Would I be ready in time? Am I really getting at what's being said in such and such a book? Am I forgetting everything I'm studying because there's just so much of it?
What I didn't realize, which seems a little stupid in retrospect, is that it can take a while to come down from something like that. Practically this means I'm not quite feeling relieved yet. Maybe I never really will. I'm still stressed; I'm still not sleeping well; I'm still experiencing constant stress-related pain. But slowly I'm putting myself back together. There has been some knitting - not a ton - but in a few days I'll be back here with some exciting new things to show off, and hopefully a sunnier disposition. In the meantime, thanks, internet, for not disappearing while I've been away.