Without the map the road is still the road

I’ve been having a hard time keeping perspective the last few days. It seems like if I fail my prelim, everything is over. But it isn’t, not really. The sun has the convenient habit of getting up each morning, the day will go on. If I happen not to be a graduate student at the end of it, that’s ok. I’d be good at doing lots of things.

Andy Wilkinson is a cowboy poet I had the great opportunity to meet, talk with, and listen to several years ago at one of the UHP’s pre-exam pancake slam (I think it was still called the pre-exam somethin’-somethin’ because we didn’t know what we were going to do). One of his songs is “Without the map the road is still the road.” It helps with the whole perspective thing.

If I stop being a grad student, this will have still been a great (though stressful) year where I learned a lot. Besides, I could always be a postal worker, right? Or an upholsterer?
Can’t wait for this all to be over.
I sure hope I can hold on to the perspective.

When you wonder where you’re goin’, where you been and where you are,
Remember that the wise men followed nothin’ but a star.
Across the trackless desert to Bethlehem they rode
Without the map the road is still the road.
Without the map the road is still the road.

Dorothy and the lion and their pals of straw and tin
Had no guidebook of instruction to get out like they got in.
But it didn’t make no nevermind, they hit those bricks of gold,
‘Cause without the map the road is still the road.

Without the map the road is still the road.
Every step is a journey, every journey is a step.
When your heart’s gone to yearnin’ and your soul’s gone for help.
Ink lines ain’t white lines, the routes don’t make the roads,
Without the map the road is still the road.
Without the map the road is still the road.

All you need’s a wide horizon and the ground beneath your feet,
And tomorrow is as certain as the sidewalk and the street.
Shiftin’ sands and yellow bricks and every white lines shows that
Without the map the road is still the road.

Without the map the road is still the road.
Every step is a journey, every journey is a step.
When your heart’s gone to yearnin’ and your soul’s gone for help.
Ink lines ain’t white lines, the routes don’t make the roads,
Without the map the road is still the road.
Without the map the road is still the road.

Without the map the road is still the road.
Without the map the road is still the road.

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