Saturday, October 4, 2008
for 200 points, rhymes with "bad school"
I'm going to continue the post train of talking about grad school. It's 1:30, the VT game just kicked off about a mile away from where I'm sitting right now. That location is my desk in my horribly messy room. Messy because, as Fermi says, I have other stuff to do that take priority. Messy because, as Fermi didn't say, I haven't slept here in about 3 weeks. The portion of my life contained in stuff (books, clothes, earrings) is in here. The portion of my life that includes my body has been annexed to Germany. Not the country, just the German boyfriend's dorm room. Now before you get too sniffy, he has a queen bed and a private bathroom (which always trumps a single bed and a typical dorm style, shower shoe kind of bathroom).
That being said, I feel a sense of relief when I spend chunks of time in my "actual" room. It's not that I don't like spending time with Der Junge, but all of my shit is here, I know where it is, decorations suit my style, and I can be totally quiet (other than blasting Wilco). After going 24 years with no relationship, I realize now how good alone time can be. Together time is still good too, though. Especially when you lub them.
So back to the real topic, graddy school. I just finished writing a paper about 2 hours ago. Did I mention that I have a paper due on every Saturday this semester? Or that not one day goes by where I'm not forced to slave away for at least a small amount of time (i.e., 3+ hours at a min.)? The stress from having to do the amount of work I have to do would be enough to fill my plate. The side dish of having a new boyfriend who is returning to his home country in December is sufficient as well. But, the appetizer/dessert combo of being averse to my advisor/teacher of 2 of my 3 classes plus becoming seriously depressed by the content of both of this person's classes takes the cake (no pun intended). I cry in a serious, sobbing kind of way at least once a week. I am reminded of living in a foreign country by my inability to handle small, uncomfortable situations (like parking ticket drama). I read the articles/books for class and feel depression, but nothing compared to the depression felt in my seminars when the ideas I skimmed (since there's too much reading to actually read for details) are fully explained to me in all their bleak fatalism.
I remember reading a passage in a book about applying/going to grad school that said something like "don't go into a grad program thinking you can just easily quit if you don't like it, there's a whole process of shaming and self-questioning/self-doubt if you decide to bow out." Now, that's not direct, but I definitely understand, now, what they meant. There's a sense that you have failed at life if you fail to complete a grad program you started. There's all kinds of internal politics and drama in my department. I am the girl whose name is remembered because it's not pronounced the way it "should" be. One word for that: Yankees.
So I don't know what the future holds (who does?) but I do know that I can survive this semester. And I know that if I decide to, I can get this degree. Why? because I am better than them. Why else? Because, like Fermi, I can sit back and realize that most of this shit is just not important. Ok, that last one is a work in progress, but at least I'm not getting 3 hours of sleep and crying during bathroom breaks like the other first semester student in my department. And the other thing, I know that if I do decide to quit this shit, it's their loss, not mine.