Full time job + part time MA = no social life

21:34 Sophie Flynn 1 Comments

On Saturday, two of my best and oldest friends got engaged in UNISON on the top of a MOUNTAIN, surrounding by all of our closest friends. Their lovely boyfriends got down on one knee, on the snow covered mountain top, side by side and presented sparkling engagement rings to my two friends who cried with shock and happiness at the total surprise proposal. It was a beautiful, romantic, once-in-a-lifetime, story book moment. Or so I heard, I wasn’t actually there.

I was at home, as usual, doing university work.  

When I tell people I’m doing an MA on top of my full time job they often say things like “Oh my God I could never do that” “How do you manage that?” “I can’t imagine doing anything on top of this job” and the answer to all of that is, I don’t manage it, I don’t do anything on top of my job, I am effectively a 27-year-old hermit.

It’s Saturday night, I’ve just completed my first week at my brand new job, I’ve driven to three different offices, written six different articles, attended one university class, read two books, written 1,5000 words of my book, read 10 million poems, food shopped, cooked, cleaned, fed the cat and everything else that goes with a normal week. What I haven’t done is taken that special trip to Wales to climb Snowdon with my best friends for the weekend. I said I couldn’t go, for the main reason being I literally can’t spend the whole weekend doing anything except working during my course[1] or I will never manage to pass.

I always have to say no now, to dinners, drinks, parties, weekends away. And I console myself that I have to, because even when I have no weekend plans I’m still in a constant struggle to juggle a super demanding job with an even more demanding course. I spend my evenings reading, my weekends writing yet I’m still always behind, I always turn up to class flustered having often finished the week’s reading sat in my car in the minutes leading up to the lecture, I still don’t get enough writing done, I still haven’t started my assignment for this term.

After my initial excitement over the double engagement announcement, came the crushing disappointment that I had missed it. I’ve spent most of the evening questioning myself as to whether the MA is worth it. What if the course amounts to nothing? What if I never make it as a writer anyway? I could waste two years of my live saying no to events, experiences, people - potentially for nothing.

And the truth is, I have no idea if it will be worth it. I have no idea if I’ll ever do anything with this MA, whether all the words I spend my evenings writing, whether all the books I spend my weekends reading, will amount to anything at all. But I have to try. Even if this means missing out on some of the best things, the parties, the drinks, even the engagements, I have to believe it will be worth it in the end. Maybe missing out will force me to make sure it’s worth it, and maybe when I think about all of my friends, gathered together, celebrating a double engagement and me sitting at home reading fucking Cloud Atlas – maybe then I’ll say to myself DON’T WASTE IT – WRITE SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING, BE SOMETHING.

Or maybe I’ll just pour another glass of wine and feel sorry for myself. We’ll see.

[1] The other reasons being 1) I hate hiking 2) My boyfriend has a slipped disc and can’t walk around Tesco, let alone a mountain 3) I don’t have a slipped disc but couldn’t walk up a mountain because I hate hiking

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