Monday, August 11, 2008

Grad School or Grocery Bagger?

I didn't blog much last week because I was too busy waking up at an ungodly hour - walking to the train - taking the train downtown - and walking to school. Reverse and repeat for the way home. I thought that getting to work early would be good because I wouldn't get as sweaty on my way in. But I was wrong. Getting to work early is NOT good, (sans good.) I was overly tired all day which made me want to nap in the evening rather than walk the dogs, workout, spend time with the husband, or do any housework. Jips even said to me that early work might not be good because "the house and I need you." And it is so. Early work is not good. Eventually I bet I could get used to the hours, but then there is the problem of my obsessions. I cannot bring myself to leave work early even if I get there early. I just want to finish what I am working on, and it doesn't seem so bad to leave at the normal time, right?

Speaking of work, Mrs. Smoltz and I had dinner yesterday. She showed me that we make the same amount of money as someone who dropped out of high school and is bagging groceries at wall mart.* Damn. But then I say that we are getting paid to get an education and we will be making tons more than the wall mart bagger once we get out. And some people in grad school don't get paid. In our program, in science, they have to pay us something. Otherwise the graduation rate would be 5% rather than the 50% it is now. We have to put up with alot of shit. Maybe it is like that in every program, and maybe not.

Jips is our program's grad student president. That means he has meetings with the "popular" kids on the grad student council and he attends faculty meetings. The popular kids in grad school act like high schoolers. All they do is complain about how they don't get enough money for alcohol for their parties. Faculty meetings are full of professors complaining about email server changes and acting as obnoxious as possible. The Academic World is not the real world. Or maybe it is. What do I know?

Am I ranting? I need to do some cardio. I haven't worked out since Tuesday and I can tell. My muscles scream to me that they want to be worked.

Last week I decided I would try to eat healthier. I made some split pea soup and bought some raw spinach. I made "spinach salad" which means Spinach (80%), Greek Vinaigrette (10%), and Feta Cheese Chunks (10%). I was afraid of the split pea soup, but it isn't painful to eat, just a bit hum-drum. Finally, Frozen blueberries, Vanilla Light N Fit Dannon Yogurt, and Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal on top. I thought it was good the first time I ate it. Now I am of the opinion that health food tastes like crap.

What did Jips get me for my birthday? Diamond Earrings. Yes. I know, he did well. They are special posts with screw on backs so that they won't fall out. Growing up I was not one of those girly-girls that was all about expensive jewelry. But the best husband in the world likes to give me pretty things. :) I bet I can adapt.

I leave you with the best political YouTube video yet.

* It is interesting that we make the same amount because Jips's maw-maw said that he could bag groceries when he decided to quit his first graduate program.


Anonymous said...

The academic world is definitely different from the "real" world. I dislike the term "real world" though because that suggests the academic world is some pale replica or shadow. It's not. It's its own totally separate almost self sufficient world that from time to time enjoys commerce with the other world around it.

That said, there is a difference qualitatively between work attitudes in the academic and real world. Having spent some time working in industry, I have a different take on approaching and solving problems than students (and GASP, professors) who've been in school their entire lives.

For example, project estimation - both of the overall feasibility of a project as well as a personal assessment of one's ability to contribute and get sub-projects done. In all of my classes so far, the only students who managed to do these tasks well were those of us who either had worked in industry or were working full-time and in school part time. I guess I was being too hard on the professors. . .perhaps they were just coddling the rest of the students. . .

But there are some other things (which I find strange), those of us who'd worked seem to be more willing and able to learn new things (which we may not necessarily be interested in) for the sake of getting work done, we're more conscious about time and getting things started and ENDED on time, and probably a couple other things I'm forgetting right now. . .need to look at my blog for any complaints I had about my fellow students :)

But perhaps that just applies to electrical engineering grad students ;0

Fermi said...

Academics have no sense of time. Or deadlines.

Aint that the truth.

Z said...

Hi there! So... the worst thing for me about getting to the lab early? No one is there to see me. For a good, oh, 3-4 hours. So when I leave early? They glare at me. And think I'm a slacker. And so I don't leave. And too many 12+ hour days in the lab? Leave me very, very tired.

"We have to put up with alot of shit. Maybe it is like that in every program, and maybe not." SO TRUE. So very, very true...

Fermi said...

Z: I understand. I hate it when anyone sees me leave. Just because I am so paranoid that they will think I am a slacker. I am sure that has something to do with why I can't seem to get out of there.

We live in a mini society where worth is determined by how long you are "seen" working. The thing is that the people who talk about "slackers" are the ones that spend 12 hours at work, but 6-8 of those hours are spent on something other than the work they are supposed to be doing.

Care28 said...

I totally came across you blog by accident...but I food tastes like garbage. I am trying to eat healthy...its bad!