I am half way done with my class. I am taking Women’s History in the US at Cal Poly, Pomona. It has been an exciting experience despite the stress of having to work full-time, continuing with my dance practice, working out, and maintaining a relationship with Andrew. I am so happy that I am taking this class. First of all, I have an A in the class. This makes me really happy. I know that I work hard and I need that affirmation. I need to know that I am on the right track. History is my calling and I am embracing it.

You see, the past two Autumns, I had worked hard on my PhD applications. And for two years in a row, I didn’t get into any program. It was heart-breaking. I cried at every single rejection letter. I felt worthless. Then I got mad. I called one of the schools to tell them to go fuck themselves but then I learned the ugly truth about schools. They don’t give a shit about me or you at a PhD level. At that level you are an expense. I always thought my degree in Museum Studies would set me a part. I figured someone would read my personal statement and would realize how my degree and career had prepared me for a PhD. I was different then those with a history degree. I was wrong. American education doesn’t want you to be different. You have to be the same: same GRE scores, same letters of rec, and same degree. It was sad to hear. The history departments weren’t sure that I would cut it. To them my program was kind of easy. What sucked was the fact that I had heard that exact same thing about history… remember Kevin? He said the same thing about my program. History is easy, all you do is read books, discuss, and write papers. Anyone can do that.

Andrew has said the same thing and often compared me to him. I hope he doesn’t do it on purpose. But I have quickly learned that to make himself bigger and better, he kind of belittles me. Again, I doubt it’s intentional. Schooling was easy for him. He didn’t have to work hard. He didn’t even have to read a book. All he has has to do is sweet talk himself through life. Here I am stressing out, working hard, trying to better myself. And as he was proclaiming just how amazing he was, I was doubting myself and hoped I would disappear. Maybe I wasn’t good enough for a PhD. Maybe I suck at History. Maybe I’m just dumb.  Maybe I’m stuck at my job because I keep trying to reach beyond what I can actually do.

But then I started this class and I felt good again. I hadn’t taken a history class in almost 10 years. I doubted whether or not I could cut it. It’s that what the one history department said, they doubted me. But I can!! I totally can. It’s very important for me that I am the best that I can possibly be. I don’t need to be better than anyone else just know that I am working my hardest. I haven’t felt that drive in a long time. It’s helped me figure out how I plan to tackle a MA in History. That’s right. I am refusing to give up. If reaching for a PhD in History was too high, then I will try one step below it. Once I get the MA in History I will try again. This class has helped me prioritize my life. My relationship with Andrew is okay… mostly me feeling guilty every time I say I can’t because I have to study. He tells me not to worry but I do. I worry all the time. But I am glad it’s happening right now when we aren’t living together, in another state. It’s a challenge but in California we have time to be a part. He has his life and I have mine. Right now he has his support system and I have my class.