The last nine months have been an incredibly strange period of time for me. The transition back fully into academia following a two-year hiatus after grad school has been far harder than I ever could have imagine. Because, completely unlike starting undergrad and in ways very different from even starting my graduate work at the University of Georgia, the last 9 months have truly felt like a series of never-ending changes.
I found out in early May of 2011 that I had been accepted here in the ASPECT program, but without funding. My soon-to-be husband, Ryan, and I discussed the merits and demerits of beginning without funding and ultimately decided to just come and hope for the best. He began attempting to find a job in the area, and I desperately tried to figure out how I was going to break it to my job.
On May 13, we find out Ryan’s gotten a position in Roanoke. On May 15, Ryan and I get married. On May 17, I find out that I’ve magically gotten funding to go to school.
Best. Week. Ever.
It was the beginning of the transition that I find myself in the middle of now. After nearly 5 years in Athens, GA, a place I associated completely with the maturation of my relationship with Ryan, we were leaving, newly married, about to start over.
Ryan ended up moving here first, just weeks after the wedding, and I didn’t move here until mid-July. July 15th to be exact. I know that because it was the day that Harry Potter 7.2 released. The first day of my truly “adult” life. One of the last days of pure childhood.
This entry is trailing into tl;dr territory, but bear with me. Sometime in 1998, my dad heard this lady on NPR named Joanne something-or-other talking about a book she wrote and that the second book in the series was coming out in the next weeks. Dad actually stopped on the way home, being so compelled by the interview, and bought my brother and I Sorcerer’s Stone. My brother and I refused to read it; as much as I love my father, he was the kind of dad that brought home truly awful books (like “A History of France from 1735-1738, Complete with NO PICTURES OR FUN”) in the hopes of educating us. We figured the adventures of this Harry kid were going to be equally stupid.
They weren’t stupid. In fact, they changed everything.
I was 13.
Fast-forward to 2011, Christiansburg, VA. That morning, I had woken up in Athens, GA, said goodbye to old friends and my favorite breakfast place, and had driven to Blacksburg. Ryan and I celebrated my homecoming by going to see the last installment of the Potter films. Of course I knew how it ended–I’d read all of Deathly Hallows the afternoon it released. But still, there was a finality. It was finally over.
I was 25.
I found myself crying at the destruction of Hogwarts, the castle that had housed my imagination for more than a decade. I knew it was coming, but there was a finality to it I hadn’t been able to imagine.
Transitions. Moving through my Ph.D. so far has felt like constant change. Week-to-week differences in schedule, new opportunities and new friends, the constant questioning of my own right to even be here. And most importantly, the quest for a new breakfast place.
And, of course, the constant reminders that I’ve somehow moved past the students I currently teach and am in a different space now.
Davy Jones died today. And honestly, his death feels like another nail driven into the casket of my childhood. Thanks to Nickelodeon, twentysomethings and thirtysomethings today are saddened by the death of a member of a band that broke up before many of our parents were married. I blew so much allowance money in the late 90s and early 00s on the Rhino rereleases of the albums (I’m listening to Shades of Grey on Headquarters right now). Some of my fondest memories involve blaring said CDs in our bedrooms singing off-key and not caring.
If I said “Davy Jones died today” to any of my freshmen, I doubt they would have much of an idea of who I was talking about (You mean that guy from Pirates of the Caribbean?).
Yeah, I’m kind of sad right now. But is the really world ending? To Jones’ family, it probably feels that way. But in the grand scheme of my own life, I probably won’t mark this day as all that different than any other (Do you remember where you were when you found out Davy Jones died?). But in this period of constant change and growth I find myself in, it is a moment to pause and reflect.
Keep jammin’ out on that rock tambourine, Davy.