If You’re a Grad Student and You Know It

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If you’re groggy and you feel it,

Clap your hands.

If you’re groggy and you feel it,

Clap your hands.

Curfew used to be at 10,

Now we’re up ’till who knows when,

If you’re groggy and you feel it,

Clap your hands.

——-

If your friends have graduated,

Stomp your feet.

If your friends have graduated,

Stomp your feet.

If all your friends are gone,

And you deal with freshmen all day long,

If your friends have graduated,

Stomp your feet.

——-

If you’re gonna flunk your midterms,

Nod your heads.

If you’re gonna flunk your midterms,

Nod your heads.

Don’t care about my GPA,

All I want is my MA.

If you’re gonna flunk your midterms,

Nod your heads.

Rain Check

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Hey there, guys.

So, um, I had this great idea for a blog post tonight. Like, fabulous. I had a great conversation with my parents on the way back from church which prompted some thoughts that were baking into a beautiful blog-post-loaf in my brain.

Unfortunately, I have a midterm tomorrow. Which I’ve studied for, but not nearly enough. So I’m going to go do that.

Maybe I’ll write the brilliant thing. Unfortunately, all you’ll get tonight is this. I’m terribly sorry, but that’s the way things go.

My you sleep well and work well, wherever you are and whenever you’re reading this.

Guilt

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Well, then. That didn’t go as planned.

I planned on going to work for four hours, then doing homework for the rest of the day. I was going to work on my bibliography project and read the rest of To the Lighthouse.

I got off work (after four very stressful hours–the library was packed today) and then ran to grab lunch. I wolfed it down, then came back to the library to read. this lasted 30 minutes, and then it was time to go to a birthday party. Birthday parties are cool.

My fuel light came on, which meant I needed to refuel the car when i stopped at the grocery store to refuel myself. This added up to an hour.

I was already late to a study group for a test I’m taking on Monday when I stopped to look at my syllabus for another class to see what was due. Turns out I have to have a conference for my grad project in that class by the end of this week. Had I started said project? No.

So instead of studying, I worked on that project. For four long, cold hours in the library. All the while feeling guilty for not studying for the test on Monday, but what could I do?

This is the way that grad school works: you will always be in a state of guilt for not working on schoolwork while you’re working on schoolwork.

And that is that.

Clueless

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I’m like a dog behind the wheel of a semi. I may look happy-go-lucky, but I have no idea what I’m doing.

All of the projects (and boy are there a lot of them) are due in the latter end of November and the beginning of December. Both points are closer than I’d like to think, but they’re still kind of far away.

In that time, I’ll need to:

  • Compile a bibliography of everything our library has on an author of my choice.
  • Write a paper on some element of the English language that is hard for those who do not speak it natively to grasp and why.
  • Write another paper about how phonetics create mood in poetry.
  • Write out my philosophy of research.
  • Write a twenty-page paper about Virginia Woolf and her works.
  • Read a book about Virginia Woolf and feminism and give an oral report about it which may need to last around fifty minutes.
  • And read all the novels for that class.
  • And read all the other weekly assignments.
I don’t even know where to start. I’m trying not to panic. It’s not that I’m not working hard, a little every day, to get stuff done.
 
That’s just a lot of hours. And a lot of things.
 
I don’t feel doomed…but I wonder if I should.

Over the Hump

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  1. I need to stop reading the news because ISIS and my hyperactive imagination are breeding little three-headed worry puppies in my brain.
  2. Since when if seven hours of sleep not enough?
  3. Since when is two hours of study time not enough?
  4. Since when is a balanced meal not enough, and why am I still hungry?
  5. Since when is stuff from the 90s (1990s) vintage?
  6. If you leave sour cream out on the counter, what’s it going to do? Go good?
  7. Why can’t I focus?
  8. Why are the weeks flying by so fast?
  9. Why does our library only have two of the five existing supplements to Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication?
  10. Thank goodness the weekend is almost here. I need some headspace to answer these questions.

Cold

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I can’t get warm.

Now that’s it’s autumn, the outside is chill and crisp. Well, not crisp yet…it’s still muggy, because it’s Anytown and it’s always muggy here. But it’s chill and damp, which is somehow harder to bear.

I work in the library. The library is kept as cold as a cadaver lab so mold won’t grow on the books. Ironically, the coldest places in the library are where the fewest books are kept. Places like the area immediately surrounding my desk. I keep a space heater running just so I can feel my fingers to type.

As a GA, I work in the library and do my homework in the library. Occasionally I venture to class, where the classrooms are still mysteriously cold, and the amphitorium, which is a few degrees warmer because I sit in the balcony and heat rises. Still, I spend 90% of my time in the freezing cold library, and walk out at the end of the day into a wall of increasingly freezing air.

At the end of the day, all i want is a cup of tea, a hot shower, flannel PJs and about twenty quilts. By then, i can feel my toes again, and I can go to sleep.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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I just might be.

Virginia was a troubled woman. Her life was short, bohemian in the worst sense, and congested with inner turmoil.

Her work deals with anti-war themes, lesbianism, and the battle of the sexes. Her books ramble, but rarely rant, allowing the complexity of her very complicated characters do all of the talking. These characters are vivid and memorable, but often despicable. Her plots contain little action and pages of introspection, most of which makes as much sense as the average college student’s first thoughts upon waking up in the morning on a Monday.

And yet, for all their seeming randomness, Woolf labored over these few short novels. She wrote draft after draft, agonizing over atmosphere and mood and syntactic and word choices. Reading her work is like staying at a painting by Jackson Pollack: you think you’re looking at pointless splatters, but there is in fact purposeful meanings hidden underneath it all.

I don’t know what to make of her. I never will.

Yet I’ve chosen her for my paper topic.

Saturday

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  1. Eventually autumn will be here to stay.
  2. The no-wash method may be backfiring, because now my whole face feels like a greasebomb.
  3. I never should have installed Angry Birds.
  4. Stevia may not be as awesome in baking as I’d hoped.
  5. Related note: the first apple pie of the season has been made!
  6. The library is illegally cold. Absurdly cold. As in my fingernails turn blue and my joints freeze so I can’t type anymore.
  7. It’s amazing how long a big breakfast can last you. I didn’t even bother with a proper dinner, and I skipped lunch.
  8. My brain now automatically wakes up after seven hours of sleep. Why.
  9. Clutter makes an apartment look homey. Yeah. Homey.
  10. October is going by too fast.

No Time to Say Hello–Goodbye!

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Guess what, guys?

No, guess. Just guess. C’mon, humor me.

It’s FRIDAY! The happiest day of the week.

I spent the whole evening eating food. Lots and lots of food. No dessert, sadly, which is unfortunate. I decided to go on a sugar fast right at the beginning of Baking Season and suddenly my dietary choices feel like an episode of Survivor.

After eating a lot of food (a lot a lot of food), I went and introverted for several hours and got ahead–that’s right, ahead–on homework for the weekend.

I’m a little sad that I got so distracted by Mrs. Dalloway (and Angry Birds) that I don’t have time to write this hilariously funny post that occurred to me while I was at the party earlier. Maybe tomorrow.

It’s Friday, folks. Party in your hearts, and have a glorious Saturday.

Feeling Small

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Maybe I shouldn’t read the news.

Maybe I shouldn’t try to imagine the future at all.

When I was small and growing bigger, I noticed how the world that used to seem so big appeared to shrink from the fairy land I thought it was into a tiny neighborhood with petty neighborhood fights.

Now that I’m big, though, I feel like I’m getting smaller in the scheme of things, and that the world is growing larger, like a malicious carnivorous plant about to swallow me whole. There are so many things to worry about. Things inside me. Things inside my little world here at Undisclosed University. Things outside it are even worse.

When I feel like this (which is more often than my pride wants me to admit), I look up at the stars. Scripture isn’t what comes first to mind, although I know it should. I remember some simple words from one of my favorite fictional heroes: “There’s light and beauty up there that no shadow can touch.”

Then I remember that it is God who made the stars sing (Job 38:7), and that the heavens declare His glory (Psalm 19:1). God is not indifferent. I can’t imagine Him so, not from the way He talks in the Bible. He counts my tears and puts them in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). He will not give me more than I can bear with Him beside me (1 Corinthians 10:13). And He doesn’t just guard my feeble footsteps, but the footsteps of all of His children.

I am small. But He is big, and He will watch over me.

Forethought

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Undergrad taught me to plan ahead. I wasn’t always the plan-ahead type (in fact, in many ways I’m still not), but I had too many scary syllabi surprises in my college experience to repeat the same activity in grad school. I decided that the best way to keep calm and carry on in grad school would be to take every possible moment to work ahead, even if that mean only spending fifteen minutes a day on a project not due until December.

I saw my first project on the syllabus and decided to get cracking fairly early. The second Saturday of the school year saw me sitting at a carrel, thumbing through books in search of the answer to a specific question (the goal of this project). I took notes, hunted down articles, perused the stacks, and compiled a list of helpful sources.

While my classmates were panicking about their first projects (due next week), I was confident that I’d gathered most of the research I would need to put the final touches in place this weekend. No sweat.

Then I got a news flash. The first project’s goal was not, in fact, to hunt down the answer to a specific question. No, it was to find a reference resource about literature and make a presentation about it, complete with tidy little handouts.

It’s due next week. Until tonight, I hadn’t started.

So much for forethought.