Spring Break is almost at an end, and my stress levels are the same as they were before the "staycation." Judging from the condition of my skin, they could be even higher. Why? Because my break has been sapped by the things that will happen after the break: midterm papers due, new busy-work assignments from she-who-should-not-be-trusted-to-code-security-for-bank-accounts, ironing out course schedules for future semesters, and the prospect of going back to work on Monday and building a passable search feature from databases so badly formed that its creators must have been trying to make retrieval impossible.
When I'm feeling tired and grumpy, as is often the case, I question whether that Piece of Paper with the two masters on it is worth it. We've already established that what the paper represents is worth practically nil, since 90% of my mandatory courses just exercise my existing smarts and don't develop new ones. There are some gems, of course, but mostly I'm just treading water in Microsoft Access or the same lectures on elementary statistics I heard as a college freshman. I read the outdated, content-flimsy assignments so that I can earn the good opinion of the professors, on which my grades are based. And I go through the motions of paper-writing, pretending that the words in them have even the slightest bit of relevance to my future activities as a professional.
The thing is, I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for the program. I'd spoken to enough graduates to know that you could sleep-walk through your year and come out with a certificate just as shiny as the gung-ho Type-As'. My highest expectation was that they would allow me enough free time to develop a useful skill set outside of the classroom.
Unfortunately, this places a lot of pressure on me to do just that. I don't have an advisor to keep me on track or even a solid idea of what I have do to make sure I'll be able to pay off my federal loans. Around every corner people tell me the job market is impossible to break into and I have to do a lot more than just take classes to survive...but no one can tell me for certain what that "lot" is. Working part-time? Maybe. Internships? Depends. I can't even articulate what my job title will be. It could be anything from Head of Collections to Systems Analyst. Frankly, it might not even exist yet.
All this is putting my stability-loving personality under high duress. Sometimes I'm tempted to mentally time-warp back to the 1950s and let Sweetie take care of everything while I sweep the floors and bake cupcakes. But we're not in the 1950s, and with all the liberties and rights I get for living in the 21st century comes a certain level of responsibility to take care of myself. Besides, Sweetie has been bouncing around the intention to join either law enforcement or the military after getting his degree. If something happened to him, where would that leave me? Throwing myself at other rich men for support? Heck no. My bra size isn't big enough to pull it off.
When you get down to it, I'm just venting. I will get that Piece of Paper, and I will make sure that Piece of Paper earns me a job that can get me my little cottage and a Kitchen Aid standing mixer. And then I will have future Spring Breaks on other continents, where self-important professors and basic-principle-breaking databases can't touch me.