This should be my last school-related post for a while. Classes are over, my B.S. is finished, and I never have to visit the Bad Place again.

But here’s the thing: I now have 5½ years worth of conditioning to undo.

In 2003 I made the decision to go back to school. I’ve been a full-time student since then, in addition to my regular job(s). To get it all done without going insane, I worked my brain into a routine. If I had spare time, I conditioned myself to check the school website for assignments. Spare time came to mean that I must have been slacking off on my schoolwork.

Now, years later, I have spare time again, but no school work to fall back on. The conditioning isn’t going away, though. There’s this low-level nagging at the back of my brain telling me that there must be something that I’m not doing. It’s a sort of induced guilt. I know I’ll get over it, but its efficacy is surprising.

I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that I took a week-long break from running last week. My 16-mile run was a disaster, so I decided I needed a break. On the one hand, that combined with school removed two of my spare time activities at the same time. I’m sure this contributed to my floundering feeling. But on the other hand, if I hadn’t taken a break I probably would have over-run due to the confusion from the drop in school activity. So it’s probably good that I took the break when I did, even if I hadn’t intended for the juxtaposition.

Long story short: I’m a little broken right now, but I’m getting over it.

By Rick Osborne

I am a web geek who has been doing this sort of thing entirely too long. I rant, I muse, I whine. That is, I am not at all atypical for my breed.