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Maria Sestito

Maria Sestito is the public safety reporter for the Napa Valley Register.

Graduate school is making me do things that I never expected.

Correction: Grad school is making me neglect a lot of things. Things like taking out the trash, doing the dishes and, umm, eating regularly.

Despite endless promotion of self-care for graduate students, this schedule has prompted me to let some of these activities go. In a really messed up and backwards way, letting these things go is self-care.

To be fair, I never exactly mastered cooking and cleaning in the first place, so no wonder these are the first things to go.

The difference now is that I’m not going to feel guilty about not doing these things like I have in the past. Instead of feeling bad about eating pizza every day, I’m accepting that this is a time in my life when it is completely OK to do that. I’m a grad student – I don’t have time to cook!

Besides, why does it matter if my apartment is messy? It’s not like anyone is driving to Vallejo to hang out in my little studio. If it doesn’t bother Cosmo, it doesn’t bother me. (Or, at least, that’s what I’m telling myself.)

In the moments when I finally do take out the trash because my apartment is starting to smell, I think about all the ex-boyfriends that I used to get upset with for doing exactly what I’m doing now. I think, “Wow, maybe it could’ve worked out if …”

In my constant effort of self-growth, I question if I was too harsh, too demanding, too “needy.”

I run through each offense in my head:

- Didn’t help with the dishes. (He was right. He didn’t ask me to cook dinner.)

- Didn’t cook any meals. (He wasn’t hungry. Unless I was cooking something.)

- Didn’t take out the trash. (He forgot. Maybe he really is just that forgetful?)

- Didn’t brush his teeth … again. (Neither he nor I could explain this one. For the record, even being in school hasn’t made me forget to do this.)

- Didn’t feed my cat while I was away. (Or this!)

Yeah, that last one was a game changer. Maybe I’m not too harsh.

On a related note, I’ve also given up dating. #priorities

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Maria Sestito is a former Register reporter and current student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Jersey Girl runs every other Sunday. Follow Maria on Twitter @RiaSestito or email her at ria.sestito@gmail.com

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Maria Sestito is the former Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She now writes for the Register as a freelancer.