Graduate school grades matter and TV is mildly depressing

My plan to coast through my MBA is backfiring. I am currently failing. Did you know you need a B- to pass a graduate level class? I have a solid C, the grade I was shooting for because life is more important than grades, and now it’s come to my attention that this is unacceptable. Grades are more important. Why is it that right when I get my shit together and realize that grades never mattered, that now they do? There’s probably a life lesson hidden in this mess, but I’m too stressed about acing the rest of the quarter to have epiphanies.

Things tend to work themselves out and I’m pretty good at appealing things I disagree with, so I remain confident that I’ll squeak by with that B-, but the next 3 weeks are now going to be even more intense than they already are with my GEICO training. Bring it.

It’s moments like this when I like to mentally project myself a year into the future. A year from now, none of this will matter. A year from now, this stress will be forgotten. A year from now, I will look back and laugh at how much I cared about any of this at all. A year from now, this will all be gone and I will have new worries to stress about and mentally project out of, a year into the future. I think this is what the circle of life is: dissipating stresses, year after year, forever.

Last night I dealt with the stress by watching TV in my hotel room, something I haven’t done in so long that the last commercial I saw was likely produced in the 90s or early 2000s. We didn’t have cable TV growing up, and since graduating from high school in 2006, I haven’t once lived in a house with a TV. TV is not my default entertainment. After clicking through every ESPN channel, reality TV show, and news station, I landed on something good enough. There’s a show on CNN called “The History of Comedy,” which I watched for two hours and paired with chamomile tea. I didn’t laugh once.

When I finally turned off the TV at 8:30 to go to sleep, I felt so empty inside that I almost wanted to cry. It reminded me why I hate watching TV (GoT the clear exception, but even that was hard to handle). Every commercial was for insurance, retirement investing, or prescription medication. Several of them referenced pop culture icons that went right over my head. Am I that out of touch? Makes me think the show was targeting a different kind of stressed out person.

Does everyone feel this empty after watching TV? Studies do show that “mildly depressed” is the average emotion people have while watching television, but with limited personal experience, I didn’t realize that that feeling lingers even after you stop. Guys, it was awful. Even while I watched, waiting for something funny, I felt this sinking feeling that I was desperately wasting my time.

But something happened as I slept. The feeling crept deeper into my being, and I awoke with this deep sense of loss. Like the 2 hours I spent staring at the TV last night somehow set me back emotionally. I felt so depleted and defeated, simultaneously stressed about that fucking C I have in Organizational Theory. Knowing this emotion is temporary, and maybe also related to the fact that I spent Friday night and Saturday afternoon at funeral receptions with literally all my in-laws, I put on my best fitting clothes and took the elevator to the breakfast buffet.

Oatmeal, nuts, seeds, and strawberries. Tea. Time to get back to it.

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Wife, yogi, and cat mama living in the SF Bay Area.

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