Is Insomnia Just Part of the Package?

I never really struggled with insomnia until the final semester of my M.A. program. Sure, I’d have the occasional sleepless night, but they never occurred in twos, threes, or even for weeks at a time until the last week of my last semester. I slept like a baby the night before my Thesis Defense. But by the time I’d finished all of my coursework a week later, I was sleepless despite my exhaustion. The night before graduation, I didn’t sleep at all. And there was much less to be stressed out about then.

I have a theory that I sleep better when I have MORE going on. Inaction and waiting make me restless, leaving me making to-do lists into the wee hours of the morning. Sure, sometimes the insomnia is related to excitement, but more often it’s new things, the unknown, that electric mixture of fear and excitement that courses through my veins with such intensity that I become convinced I can actually feel it, streaming through me and commingling with my blood. I can’t wait to get started. I have no choice but to wait.

Maybe that’s why it started the week before graduation. For the past six years, I’d known my plan. My life had order and organization, and I knew exactly what to expect and what would be expected of me on a daily basis.

It was glorious. Much like this:

Anyway, starting last summer, I got a new job (doing familiar things–teaching/tutoring–but in a new place). I was facing down a year without coursework (I still feel like something’s missing, because of that). Last fall, the unknown was the world of PhD applications and the sheer potential that sprang into existence with every application I filled out.

Now, waiting for those application results, I’m starting a new semester. Probably my last at my Alma mater. I’m teaching a literature class for the first time. I’m pondering which of my books I’ll be forced to put in storage and which ones I absolutely cannot do without as I start this new adventure. I’m looking forward to a cross-country (or interstate) move, but nervous because this will be my first one as an adult. I’m sad because I’ll be leaving behind some of the most amazing people–the faculty and colleagues I’ve worked with and studied under here at the Alma mater–and nervous and excited to work with new people in a new department.

Things will never be the same. I think the word “better” is arbitrary (apples to oranges, and all that), but I hope that, if I get into a PhD program, it will be filled with people as wonderful, diverse, and accepting as those I’ve come to know here.

Well, it’s back to the pre-semester to-do list for me. Keep it classy, internet.

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