Crazy Internet=Design Change, Plus a Rant of Sorts

When I woke up and checked the blog this morning, there were ads running through the rotating images I usually have at the top of the page. Somehow a virus hacked the code running the javascript and started mucking it up with ads. So, for now, I'm having to just default to a simple logo for a while until I figure out what caused it and how I can fix it. Bummer. This is the last thing I need right now! This semester has slowly worn me down to the point where all I can think about is schoolwork. I used to climb, blog about climbing, go for runs, hang out with friends on the weekends. But the last couple of weeks especially have been some of the busiest / most stressful in my life, and it'll probably stay that way until Xmas break. I haven't climbed outside in weeks!

But I can't wait for the time off at Christmas. I'm trying to get a little SE road trip going so me and Melissa can hit up the Obed, Chattanooga, and hopefully HP40 too. Now I just gotta make it a few more weeks.

I'm finding that the key to not going crazy during all of this is to keep reminding myself of why I started grad school: Eventually, I want more flexibility from my career and more time for climbing. While my last job was great in a lot of ways (an Editor at a publishing company in Asheville), I only got 2 weeks off a year, was chained to a desk, and my "job transportability" as I like to call it, meaning that if I wanted to up and move to Wyoming next year, was nil. There aren't a lot of publishing jobs in the places I want to be. But Speech Therapy is a lot like nursing--there are a lot of jobs all over the country, and there are a lot of options for schedule flexibilty and having time off. For example, one of the therapists I shadowed in a local school system worked three days a week, had summers off, and still made a salary in the mid-30s. It's not an amazing amount of money, but for working part time with summers off, it's pretty sweet, especially if you're a climber. I think I could make that salary stretch just fine by keeping living expenses low while still getting to be outside 3-4 days a week. Also, you can do travel therapy, which is what I plan to do after I graduate. You can do as little as six months at each assignment, so you can basically follow the seasons around the country for awhile until you want to settle someplace.

These are the things I keep telling myself while I'm stuck inside on nice days, or studying feverishly over my breakfast, or watching the calluses peel off my tips. Hell, I moved to Boone to be closer to climbing! The irony is terrible that I live in one of the best bouldering spots in the country, and I even have boulders I can walk to in my backyard, and I still climb maybe twice or three times a month now. But one semester's almost done already...just 3 more to go! Then, I hope, I'll see all of this has been worth it.

-Matt P.



  1. Man...I remember the sacrifices I had to make! I saw way less Phish shows back in the day than my buddies did and I got out mountain biking and climbing a whole lot less then too...but when I got to the end of grad school and had the job I wanted, it made all of the difference in the world! I've climbed more, and truly been able to enjoy it, in the last 5-10 years than I ever have, and know that its all due to my grad school. It's tough, but I'm glad to see you got your eye on the prize and understand that there are big benefits waiting for you around the next bend!

    I'm heading to Oregon for a week in December for our annual family visit, but if I'm around when you guys are road tripping, I might join you at HP40...or if you're in my neck of the woods, you're more than welcome to crash at our place and visit the finest boulders SC has to offer:)

  2. Thanks for the good thoughts, Brad! I know it's gonna pay off in the long run, but damn if it ain't a bitch right now! I used to climb 4 days a week as an undergrad in Boone, so this is quite a different experience this time around!

    I'll drop you a line when we know our schedule for sure. It'd be fun to meet up at HP40, and you know I've been wanting to get to some of those SC boulders for awhile now!

  3. I know all about making sacrifices for the future. It's super hard...

    Keep yer head up bro. Lets go climbing during your break. I will be frequenting Boone and/or Chatty during your break.