Halfway through the second week of graduate school and I've pretty much established a routine. It may need a little tweaking here and there, but I've more or less settled into a rhythm. I haven't been a student in years. And now here I am, going to classes again, struggling at times to pay attention to the lecture, trying (this early) to think of a topic for my MRR (which is a Masters degree thesis of sorts).
This time things are different. In college, I would look forward to getting drunk with my buddies after class. Sometimes we'd drink in between classes. Now, I look forward to quickly scanning my notes for the next class after the previous class has ended. I look forward to a coffee break while reading. I look forward to going home to our unit to be with my wife and son.
Some things haven't changed. We still pass notes and jokes and carry on conversations while the teacher is talking. But now we're doing it through our secret Facebook group using our laptops. That's a long way from passing notes surreptitiously or whispering to each other.
Regardless of the goofing off (which helps to keep us sane) I can tell that each of us is serious. We have a lot more to lose this time than just a grade. We've had to sacrifice a lot just to be here, after all. And that's one of the things that keep me studying at night when all I want to do is sleep.
Talking about keeping our sanity, I've started to do daily ten-minute zazen sessions twice a day: once in the morning when I wake up and once at night before I go to bed. I have a feeling this practice will help a lot in the months to come.