Thank you to everyone for making me feel better after my mini-panic session the other night. You guys are literally the nicest and the best.
I had another one of those Epic Days yesterday: work for a few hours in the morning, meeting with my advisor, big important networking/schmooze event that required resumes and high heels, and two hours of tutoring in the evening. Plus it was pouring rain all day, so of course that made things infinitely simpler, let me tell you (especially the high heels part).
But in all seriousness, things went well and I came out of the day feeling way better than I did beforehand. For one, my advisor is fantastic. His wife just had a baby about two weeks ago, so he spent the first few minutes of the meeting being a proud papa and showing me pictures of the new lil guy on his iPhone. Then he took some time to ask about classes, how I'm doing with the transition to graduate school, am I too busy, etc. THEN we got to the actual research, which gets more fascinating and complex every time we go over it. I mentioned to him that his work is more interesting to me than a lot of my classes, and that I often work on his stuff before homework, and he was like "Good! That's how it's supposed to be." And he reminded me that grades are simply not as important any more, at least compared to undergrad. So that made me feel a whole lot less panicked about everything on my plate, and kind of helped put things in perspective.
One thing causing me major stress is the Money Issue—it seems like no matter how hard I try to keep track of my budget and account for all the bills, there are always unexpected expenses. Medications, co-pays, eye-drops, shampoo, coffee beans, gas...it all adds up and I'm barely breaking even. For now, I've just been trying to tell myself that I'm already working two jobs, and there's only so much I can do.
I've also developed irrational fears that either 1) my car will break down, or 2) my computer will break down. Those are probably the two items on which I am most dependent in my every day life, and knockonwood they've served me pretty well until now. But still, I sometimes find myself bargaining with a higher power: If you must take something, take my phone instead! Take my microwave or my toaster or my Kindle! And then I realize that these are First World Problems to the extreme and that I should shut my mouth and be grateful for what I have.
I guess the moral of the story is that I'm overwhelmed by the volume of responsibilities required by graduate school and life and being a grown-up, but this is actually a full and exciting and rewarding time. So, don't feel too badly for me.