counting down every single day…

two weeks.

fourteen days.

three hundred and thirty six hours.

twenty thousand, one hundred and sixty minutes.

one million, two hundred and nine thousand, six hundred seconds.

and i have to make every one of them count.

i’ve got two weeks until the day i want to take my PhD qualifying exams. i’ve really got less than that to finish all of my secondary source reading–really, i’ve got just about 10 days to read ten articles and six books. then i have another four days to read all of the primary sources (many of which i’ve read before, so that doesn’t scare me much).

you’re probably shaking your head at me, thinking “carrie, it’s just not going to happen.”

but, strangely, i think it is. regardless of whether or not i get to actually take my oral exam on that friday two weeks from now, i’m pretty sure i will be done with the written component. i just have this feeling.

i was really worried about it, really concerned that i had irreparably messed up my timeline when i got sick. then i found this scripture in mosiah 4:27, about how a man should not run faster than he has strength. it gave me great comfort, in that moment, to realize that i would be doing myself no good if i was to force myself to work when i was sick, because i would never get any better. it also helped me to realize that resting, when your body forces you to, is not a weakness, but a strength. to pace oneself, i believe, is one of the greatest skills we can learn in this life.

so i took about a week off, got rid of the horrible flu/cold that i had, and now i feel better, ready to work hard again. and i have been. yesterday, despite feeling as though i had probably wasted too much time, i accomplished the goal that i had set for myself. i sent my director prospectus 2.0, which she liked, and i finished a book and an annotation for that book. it seems as if the Lord has blessed me to be able to accomplish all that i need to accomplish despite needing to take that week off. that’s what i mean by “i have this feeling.” i have this feeling that this experience will be a miracle like the loaves and the fishes–where there seems to be scarcity, there will be plenty. what seems impossible will actually be possible. where there is weakness, there will be strength. where exhaustion seems to thwart my progress, energy will be given.

i just know it. it’s strange, but it gives me a confidence that i don’t think i had before.

i am moving, as imperceptible as it may at times seem, towards this enormous goal that i have. i’m not sure why these exams loom so large for me, or why i have attached to them this symbolic significance. it’s as if, somehow, my accomplishment of these goals, my passing of these exams, will be the defining mandate on my intelligence, on my worth. it’s a dangerous thing. but i tend to do it with every long term project–i did it with the masters’ thesis, and when that when horribly awry, i freaked out, took a week or so to wallow, and then got back to it. and what happened?
i wrote a freaking awesome thesis.

so i don’t know why this would be any different. i don’t know why i think there might be a chance that i won’t pass. i don’t know why i’m afraid of it.

but i am.

and i think that’s why i’m so singlemindedly focused on getting it done. i’m so tired of it hanging over my head and of being afraid of it that now i am just moving stoically forward, putting one metaphorical foot in front of the other, and refusing to quit until it’s done. my director may delay me, she may say i’m not ready yet, she may ask me for additional revisions (as she did even with prospectus 2.0–after saying that it was MUCH better), she may say i need to scrap something and go back to the drawing board.

but i refuse to give up. i refuse to get discouraged. i refuse to let anything stop me from taking this exam.

it must happen.

and it must happen soon.

in the meantime, i’m planning out my life to the very last second. i actually just spent a half an hour doing that. i printed out a weekly calendar, and i have not a moment over the next seventy-two hours that is not accounted for, whether in transit or showering or reading or copying articles or going to the grocery store or even cleaning. those are my favorites. instead of putting in a big block of time to clean my house, i have scheduled in cleaning BURSTS! (and that’s how they’re written in…as BURSTS!) as study breaks. i’m excited about that, actually. i’ll get stuff done, and i won’t get overwhelmed by it.

i can do it.

but the countdown has already begun, and this entry has taken me fifteen of my precious minutes.

no more to spare!

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