Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

Breaking up with Studenthood – Politely

Dear Studenthood,

We’ve had a long run, Studenthood. There were those early, confident years where I basked in your educational sunshine. I’d never known a more comforting embrace than yours. Math races, Canada’s capitals, weather patterns, silent reading, story time, poster contests, school plays, and in-class performances – I could not get enough. You fostered long-lasting friendships, too. Sports day was always awkward but we powered through. The next day we were thick as thieves, seeking scholastic achievement again. Those were the glory days, SH; the spring of our relationship.

Things got a little tougher in high school. Do you remember, SH? The jerks were a little scarier and a lot bigger. They’d throw pennies occasionally. But even they couldn’t take the shine off of many classroom moments. There was poetry and science, the intricacy of the atom and the shameful history of Catholicism. As long as we avoided the topic of physics, there remained much love between us. You showed me greater freedom and student service. You gave me my weekends to do as I pleased. You respected my autonomy. The dog days of summer could be hard, but it was a great time.

Come to think of it, we’ve had a good run, you and me. As summer turned to fall and I began my university life, we remained close. I was poorer and had to work much harder, but I still loved you then. You woke my passion for knowledge; you inspired me. You drew connections in the world I had no idea existed. I added a degree thinking I could not get enough of you. But our energies waned. You grew demanding. I grew depressed and lazy. We couldn’t be everything to each other; it wasn’t sustainable. We closed out just shy of the Dean’s list. I was angry then. And exhausted. We barely said goodbye. I fled the country soon after knowing it would be years before I saw you again, if at all. I never thanked you.

For a few years I didn’t give you much thought. It was like a long, still winter without your glow. Then, one day, I took a test – a “likes” test of all things. You were drawing me back but I didn’t know it at the time. I accepted the challenge, studied and wrote yet another test. I remembered the comfort of tests. Just me, the stress, and the page. Writing. Insular. I applied for school, unsure whether you’d be there to pick up the pieces. It was months before I knew if we’d meet again. I didn’t know if I would take up the call. Should I work? Live life? Let you go? But when the call came I couldn’t let it be. The opportunity, and the risk of regret, seemed too great. I accepted.

We had found a new spring. I was passionate again, excited, electrified by the privilege of your educational embrace. The material, the ideas and the understanding all seemed to fit. But self-doubt crept in far too quickly. I couldn’t trust you as before. Am I good enough? Can I do this? How on earth will I survive once it’s time to let you go? And that’s the perennial problem between you and me: Studenthood, you are my comfort zone, my four-month cycle of self-loathing. You make room for my linearity but also my quest for change. You’ve become my crutch, SH. I am deathly afraid to leave you behind. It can’t be healthy, this fear, this sense that I am a square peg in an ever-narrowing round hole. I used to think I could do, now I’m not so sure. You have me convinced that I can only survive in your arms. I think about making organic baby food more often than not now. The blossoms are wilting before they bloom.

It’s not right, SH, and I must move on. I’m not sure where I’ll turn in times to come. I may look for you again in that space between life and dreams, but I need time. So I say goodbye to your flexible schedules, your always predictable cycle of stress, your grades, your affirmation and your rejection. I will draw a wage, I will get two weeks of vacation, I will learn on the job. I will do. Wish me luck, Studenthood. It’s for the best.

Gratefully Yours,



January 7, 2012 - Posted by | Books, Childhood Complaints, Photography, Self-reflection, Writing | , ,


  1. Gosh, I can relate to this love affair and subsequent break-up. Sad but inevitable.

    You made me laugh, as I’m in the process of writing about how I fell in love with school, was literally drafting it when this piece posted. Guess we’re thinking along similar lines this morning.

    Sorry about the break-up, but as you say, it’s for the best. Good luck with post-SH! Hope you have a great weekend, my friend————


    Comment by Kathryn McCullough | January 7, 2012 | Reply

    • How lovely that our thoughts were running parallel. I can’t wait to read about your love affair. I’m mostly okay about the break up, just a little fearful. And thanks so much! A good weekend to you, too.

      Comment by Rose | January 7, 2012 | Reply

  2. This is much too healthy of a breakup for me. I’d much more prefer that you began to cheat on SH and give it no closure. An angry mistress (what’s the male equivalent, by the way?) is much more entertaining for us readers. Especially down the road when SH starts to blackmail you. You two are probably going to “remain friends” as well. This mature attitude does nothing to entertain me. Boooo, Rose.

    I’ll currently all messed up because I’m married to someone in the midst of SH. I feel like I’m cycling though the student cycle with no control over the outcomes. Having said that, with the added benefit of not writing tests nor papers.

    Finally, throwing pennies!

    Comment by CheyenneVyvyan | January 7, 2012 | Reply

    • I was feeling not so trashy when I wrote it, sadly. I’m just not angry enough at studenthood, I suppose. I could get an angry master (note: literal male equivalent) but I’m trying to save you from your smut addiction.

      I am now also living the vicarious spouse student life, but I of course, still have control of the outcomes – ha.

      Comment by Rose | January 7, 2012 | Reply

  3. Excellent! I too, have had a long term love affair w/ SH. I’ve just succumbed to him again. Class starts next week. wish us luck.

    Comment by booktopiareviews | January 7, 2012 | Reply

    • Welcome and GOOD LUCK! Enjoy the good times while they last. SH provides some wonderful moments and experience that last a lifetime, after all. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Comment by Rose | January 7, 2012 | Reply

  4. This was a gorgeous post, Rose. I can relate to it completely. There is something so comforting about SH, but we had a pretty bitter breakup, methinks. Not sure if that bridge can ever be crossed again. 🙂

    Are the plans still on for this weekend? Let me know!

    Comment by Dana | January 7, 2012 | Reply

    • So, so glad you liked it. Whether or not you and SH ever reconcile, you will always have your amazingness at your side. And yes, we are absolutely still on!

      Comment by Rose | January 7, 2012 | Reply

  5. I quite enjoyed reading your writing again, Rose. So beautiful. Nice metaphors throughout. I, too, could relate to much of it. And, for me as a teacher, the love affair continues in a different way.

    Comment by Erin Williams | January 7, 2012 | Reply

    • Thanks so much, Erin. It means a lot coming from you. And I’m glad you’ve found a way to continue the affair.

      Comment by Rose | January 8, 2012 | Reply

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