I may have made a mistake. For the last year, I’ve worked full time with a full-time class load. Now I feel terribly burned out and the past year is a complete blur. I feel like I’m squandering my professional aspirations by trying to balance the two.

I know people do it all the time, work and school full time, but I find it extremely difficult to focus on one or the other. I frequently worry about rent and bills, not to mention the titanic loan debt that is always in the back of my mind.

Often I wish I’d been dealt a more financially stable hand in life. The mere idea of attending school without financial burden is such a luxury, and I routinely encounter people with just such a blessing. And I just get so angry. Granted, the balance or struggle between making ends meet and earning degrees has made me an incredibly capable and shrewd adult. I don’t need to worry about graduating with my master’s degree and having to answer “Now what?”

My dad used to prod me to move back to LA, to live rent-free and bill-free. For a while I sincerely entertained the idea, but I know that I would be miserable, as much as I enjoy his and the cats’ company. I love living in San Francisco. I love being independent. I love where my big decisions have taken me so far.

Now I’m wrestling with the decision to slow down. It may be necessary. Maybe I’d feel more accomplished academically—less frazzled—if I took two courses instead of three for the remainder of my program.

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