Friday, September 13, 2013

Things I Have Learned Recently.

So I have completed my third week of grad school and it seems that the third week is when things really get rolling. It is more work than I had thought, which might be why so few people - or so I’m told - actually finish a masters degree. As I write this I am actually just taking a quick break from a two day reading bender which I have to return to as soon as I’m done writing this.

Here are some of the things I know now that I didn’t know before:

- I am an exceptionally slow reader.

- It appears my standard workload will be reading two novels a week, reading two or three critical essays (usually relating to those novels), reading and commenting on two or three stories a week for writing workshop, and writing about some or all of that. Somewhere in there I am also supposed to be doing my own fiction writing.

- It is extremely easy to forget to shower and/or forget when you showered last.

- Even if I wasn’t in full-blown hermit mode right now (owing to the facts that I recently moved and recently started school and therefore don’t really know anyone) I would likely still be spending most of my time cooped up alone on account of the reading and writing mentioned above.

- There is a much more complex and strange and insular nature to the social circles of grad students then there was compared to undergrad students.

- I am drinking massively more water than I ever have before and the cause of that is simply mysterious to me, though it is likely a good thing nonetheless.

- The weirdly stratified and esoterically mysterious structure of the academic world is becoming more clear to me as I am starting to understand the internal logic of things like “conferences” and “presenting a paper” and “doing research” (about what, I’m still curious, does an English major do research?). This is all beginning to appear to me as if out of a mist of obfuscation because I am realizing that: 1) Academia is a tower of Babel that enjoys most having what it already believes repeated back to it, 2) Many - if not most - people in this world have barely a clue what in the hell they are talking about and so have built extremely rigid fortifications and battlements to protect their own interests and selves (I plan to lay siege to these, eventually. I just have to first figure out how.)

- Most writers are not nearly as good as they think they are (except for me, of course).

- I need to be more clear about the fact I am not bitching about life even though it often sounds like I am bitching like a little girl. My life is quite charmed right now. I get to spend my time reading and writing and learning. I will probably have to find a job soon, which will compact my current life uncomfortably, so I really am taking as much pleasure as I can in my days right now, though it might be hard to tell if you only take my word for it.

- The Rite Aid around the corner has the most illogical pricing I have ever seen in my life, probably owing to the fact that it is right next to a college and somebody at Corporate is counting cards and intentionally inflating or deflating prices on munchies and pregnancy tests.

- The rise of technology in/of the classroom has created a situation where a paper I have to finish for my 4pm Monday class is actually required to be posted to the class website by noon on Sunday, thereby robbing me of an entire day to work on it. I feel like the Grumpy Old Man sketch on Saturday Night Live a million years ago: “Back in MY DAY a paper wasn’t due until it was actually due!”

- I have learned (somewhat) to calm my nerves by reminding myself that I am only three weeks into a program that will likely last two years and that I don’t have to know everything yet and that I am doing okay.

Oh! I also learned that the Millennial generation has a much harder time getting my jokes. I blame this entirely on them.


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