School is for the Birds

As I sit here waiting for my grades from school to come back, so I can know whether or not I’ve actually completed all my coursework and can be approved for graduation, I’ve come across a metaphor for school that has helped me explain to myself my current state of ongoing anxiety, even though I’m actually done with most of the expectations for school.

You see, I’ve been in this state of waiting for approval on all of these assignments, things that I’ve worked incredibly hard on, things that I’ve now submitted to four different people who each have rather unreliable expectations for how an assignment is completed, and may or may not actually care about the actual statements make inside the assignment rubrics. Or, to put it more simply, I’ve submitted a bunch of work to people who do not have consistent expectations and may have a completely different image in their mind of what they expect to get back than they may have expressed in their request for the work.

Like…well, like a boss. I’m in this stupid situation right now where I’ve got four bosses who expect a whole bunch of work on tight deadlines, who have a very specific idea for what they are looking for, an inability to express that specific idea concisely or accurately, and give no real information on how long it might take for them to review the work and tell you what they actually wanted, which means that when you finally get the work back for correction, your timeline is at an even tighter turnaround with possibly even less clarification on what is expected.

So, I’m in stress, because although I think I’ve done an amazing job on getting these assignments done, I’m waiting for 21 different assignments to be graded so I can know if I need to correct and resubmit anything, and I have 33 days until this all has to be done.

I’m not a fan.

It also means that although I was really excited to finish the homework and get the feeling of relief that should come from it, I’m actually not feeling that relief yet. Just exhaustion and stress.

And now I’m really hoping that once all these assignments have been graded and I’ve actually been able to be placed in a position where I know I’ve passed all these classes that I’ll finally feel the relief I’ve been hoping to feel for the past 2.5 years.

So I can go back to just having my one actual unreliable boss to answer to (4, I guess, if you count my wife and kids). The one that pays me, so I can feel a bit better about unreliable expectations.

And also, I know they’ll still pay me regardless of whether the work is what they were hoping for, so I don’t have the constant expectation of failure throwing my life into disarray.

As opposed to right now.

Published by Adam Oster, Adventure Novelist

Husband, Father, Creator/Destroyer of Worlds

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