Saturday, Feb. 6 marked the completion of my first week at my semester-away program, the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, D.C. If I’ve talked to you, you probably know that I have been ecstatic about attending this program since last spring, when I received my acceptance. If I haven’t talked to you lately, then let me just make it clear: I. Was. Ecstatic.
Something you need to know about me is that I love, love sleep, yet I slept maybe three hours a night each night during the week leading up to move-in day at the end of January. I obsessively packed and repacked, contacted my roommates sooner than was probably socially acceptable and with far too many happy-face emojis and confessed to my academic advisor over the phone that I just couldn’t WAIT ANY LONGER before we’d even met face-to-face.
I know it’s only been a week and a half, but believe me, this program has surpassed my wildest dreams. There’s also been a fair share of questions and struggles raised by it, not only by the program itself, which pushes your thinking far beyond what you thought was possible, but also by the duality of absolute geographic independence from my parents and also sharing a three-story converted townhouse with 14 other girls from all over the United States.
This blog will be sort of like a diary for me as I go through an experience an admittedly small number of Fourcast writers get to go through, as evidenced by the lack of precedent of having your editor have to read your third draft from 1,172 miles away (sorry, Fourcast).
There were many directions I could have taken with this first blog post, but I think I’ll save any deep emotions for later — we either just met or you probably already know that I’m an easy crier. It’s cathartic, alright? Anyway: the topic I wanted to discuss with you, Hockadaisies and extended community, is one I know we all battle with, in Dallas or D.C. or anywhere else: time.
I don’t just mean time management, though this first week has certainly been an exercise in that, and I expect that exercise to continue until May 28, when I graduate from this program. It’s not just that we have lots of homework — I was, in part, initially drawn to SEGL because of academic rigor — but the fact is, we have D.C. at our fingertips.
That’s great, except for when we have multiple articles to read for English, a mock trial to prepare for in APUSH and a problem set for Precal. That was my situation on Tuesday, all due on Thursday (we don’t have “real school” on Wednesday, instead devoting an entire day to our signature Ethics and Leadership program, learning in D.C. offices, bureaus and the like). So I did it all on Tuesday, right?
We got the chance to go to a panel on race led by April Ryan, and it was so amazing; I detailed our experience on the SEGL Student Blog, which will be posted soon. Sure, it means I’m stuck with loads of homework on Wednesday night, but it’s part of the SEGL experience.
The weird thing is, I still have this weird reverse jetlag thanks to time zones in Dallas and D.C. that makes me feel like it’s way earlier than it actually is. So far that, and increasingly weirder flavors of lattes, are getting me through this time difference.
Finally, apart from time management and the CST/EST shift, I have to talk about one more timezone: HST. As in, Hockaday Standard Time.
We don’t use our phones during the day at SEGL. They stay downstairs in our cubbies all day, something I was initially worried about but has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Anyway, we use our phones after school as much as any normal teenager would (check me out on Snapchat @mkats78 for up-close-and-personal Snaps of the Capitol Building scaffolding, from my front porch. No zoom. I really do live there.).
That still doesn’t explain why, during the first week, a Fourcast press week, I was turning my phone on at 5 p.m. to a good hundred notifications each day. Emails, texts, even phone calls, which I’ve realized I love, flooded my phone. Also, scheduling things like my beloved Fourcast work periods, usually every even day from 1:10 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., were a little difficult. It’s hard to realize that the rest of the world doesn’t operate on Hockatime, and to step out of that bubble.
I’m working on that, though, and delicately carving out periods of time to chat on the phone to friends and family in Dallas. Not too much time, though — gotta finish that French homework. That’s due Friday, at least, but only because we’re spending our 50-minute block on Thursday interviewing the Guinean ambassador down the street.
So that’s the weekly State of the Union, folks; in Ela we trust. Until next week,
(Voted Most Likely To Be Press Secretary by SEGL Classmates Who She’s Known For Ten Days)
State of the Union is a blog run by Copy Editor Maria Katsulos detailing her experiences as a semester-away student, during the spring semester of 2016.