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.