Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Company

Currently Reading: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Today is one of those days where I wish I had Jane with me. 

I'm sitting in a library on campus, trying to motivate myself to start my homework but actually feeling very small in all of my aloneness. This is the first time I have gone back to school since graduating from my smaller Minnesota university, and let me tell you, it is a world of difference. This campus is huge, for one thing. And there are so many people. Add to that the fact that I'm only in the city and on campus once a week, and it equals out to not many chances to get to know people. The others in my classes are very nice- and I've had some good conversation starters with some of them. I always appreciate a smile, a joke, a little aside about the project we just finished. But it feels different than socializing as an undergraduate, and it makes me miss my friends even more.

I never thought to pack some book company for school, figuring I am usually up to my head in homework readings. But today, I really crave a nice dip into familiar territory, to take the tang of "new" and "alone" out of my mouth. I am not lonely- or at least, I feel less so- when I have my nose in a book, socializing with beloved characters or meeting new faces.

I am not good with loneliness. Oh, I love being alone every once in awhile... a nice long car ride all to myself, to sort out my thoughts. Or the apartment to myself for a couple of hours, testing the quiet. But otherwise, it sorta sucks. I grew up with a little sister who was by my side constantly. I can't remember days without her up until I was 18. Don't even ask her how many times I begged her to sleep in my room because I just wanted company. It continued through college... I bravely forged my way at a university where I knew nobody, enjoying the anonymity but pretty quickly trying to make new connections. It happened fairly fast (I met most of my best friends within a month of school, and I met my future husband within two). From that time on, I always had someone there to rely on, if need be. I always knew that someone close by had my back and would be there in a heart's beat if I needed them. It is reassuring to have that. And of course, I still do, although we are now spread out across the Midwest (with two in Colorado). Nathan is there for me, every day, with encouragement and laughs. But when I'm flung into these moments, looking around, recognizing that no one in this city knows me, the world starts to close in a bit.

Which is why my favorite book would be such a welcome relief right now. At last, someone I recognize and who wishes me well! I wonder if I could find a copy of Jane Eyre somewhere on this campus. I'm sure I could.


  1. I can relate to this. I have also returned to study but I am studying externally so I have no real physical contact with lecturers or fellow students and I must admit I find it frustrating and extremely isolated and isolating, no one to really discuss work with. I sometimes use the library at my local university where I have borrowing rights and despite being the location of some of my previous study it does not feel a particularly friendly space. Sometimes grad study can just be a bit of a lonely slog.
    Jane Eyre is such a wonderful novel, the Brontes are favourites of mine also.

  2. Grad school is definitely a different world than undergrad was. While I have been finding some friends, I live far from campus so it is not easy to stay connected. Hope things work out for you. Good luck with your grad school work!

  3. I used to feel the same way in college, Jillian so I know how exactly how you are feeling! (hugs) I used to grab Jane Eyre and the world would disappear for a while. I still do this these days when everything gets a bit too much for me.


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