Grad School Diaries

September 20, 2008

La Chance, Le Hasard, Le Destin

Filed under: Uncategorized — folledemot @ 4:24 am

Thursday was quite a day.  I had three meetings and one class (two meetings more and two classes less than normal).  I assumed that the time in between these meetings would be insufficient for going home; besides, once I get home, I pretty much want to stay there.  So I stayed on campus all day.  This gave me quite a bit of downtime, which on another day, I would have used my doing research or homework or whatnot until I was cross-eyed.  Because that’s the sort of thing I do – cram as much into my waking hours as humanly possible.  Sure, I may sleep like crap, live on peanut butter sandwiches and always feel as if I am unravelling before my own eyes, but at least I’m not letting any of this time go to waste.  But Thursday was gorgeous – sunny and in the mid-70s – and those days are numbered, so carpe diem, as the Romans used to say (or one imagines – until we get that time machine rolling, we’re only guessing).

I started my day of with one of my twice-weekly meetings with a native speaker.  M is very nice, and I certainly talked a lot (which is kind of the point).  Afterward, I had to hoik me and my 80-lb. backpack (thank the merciful heavens I hadn’t brought my laptop) up the dang hill and up three (mercifully not 7) flights of stairs for my meeting with The Advisor.  He is both genial and calm, which made the meeting much less stressant.  He asked me some trick questions, to get me to explain how I came to my conclusions.

And then the fire alarm went off.

It was pretty clear to me that we were going to continue the meeting, even if it had to be during an evacuation (you can’t faze The Advisor, apparently).  He took his sweet time, collecting his stuff, deciding whether to take his keys, etc.  And then we evacuated.  He selected a spot and we started up our meeting again.  As you can imagine with a 18 story building having just released all its inhabitants, there was a lot of activity.  But The Advisor and I calmly discussed matters, and he gave me the green light on my project.  And, before I could summon up the courage necessary to ask him if he would be my advisor…he offered.  I resisted answering “hot damn” and merely told him that I had been planning to ask him, and I thought it was a great idea.

By this point, I have another 3 hours to kill until class.  Sure, it would have been possibly to go home and come back; however, inertia is my enemy.  To that end, I kept moving and went to the computer lab to check my e-mails.  As usual, I got a lot of them (most of them being only of marginal interest), and skimmed through the lot.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him.  The Not So Very Appropriate Man.  My heart stammered, and I kept sneaking peeks out of the corner of my eye.  He was engrossed in something and didn’t see me.  My e-mail related business completed, I got up, stopped by where he was and waved.  He smiled in greeting and went back to his work.  I wandered off to get some lunch.

Eating lunch outside, looking at the lake, I started to ponder the path that I have found myself on.  Despite everything being different from my original plan, I had to admit thing seemed to be dovetailing quite nicely.  I thought about how, in French, chance means luck, hasard means chance, and as you can well imagine destin means destiny, but also Fate (although sometimes hasard does the trick).  I idly wondered if it was chance, hasard or destin that kept me where I was, leaving me to go somewhere I hadn’t known I wanted to go 6 months ago.


September 16, 2008

The Grad Student Blues

Filed under: College,Flirting — folledemot @ 3:36 am

It is inevitable, I suppose.  As much as I love school, it was going to get me down.  True, I was hoping to make it through all of Week Three before I felt like this.  What it isn’t:  I do not regret going to grad school, I do not regret my choice of program, I don’t regret any big decision thus far.

What is sticking in my craw today:

  1. That sometimes, although I very much like working with my students, they suck me dry.  They mistake my intent (helping them do their best in their classes) with what they often think they want (a surrogate parent/older sibling, new best friend, or shrink).  It doesn’t seem to occur to them that I might need to save some of my energies, not only for the other students, but for myself.
  2. That I feel like I am grossly underprepared for class.  Sure, it turns out (90% of the time), that I’m just fine, but I always feel like the Sword of Damocles is hanging over my head.
  3. That I know nothing.  This also turns out to be an overexaggeration of my own insecurities, but just because it isn’t so doesn’t make me feel any more confident.
  4. That I haven’t been out on a date (or date-like event) in nearly two years.  Needless to say, more than a little crankiness is inevitable.
  5. That I have developed not one, but two crushes on men who a) do not return the sentiment and b) who I must, due to work/school demands, see several times a week, thereby increasing both my awkwardness and the negative feelings due to #4.

It would be nice if, when I woke up tomorrow, I would magically know exactly how to handle each of the five above situations with grace and dignity, that I would meet an attractive, intelligent, funny man with whom I shared both a physical and emotional connection; and, while we’re at it, I would have a million dollars in tax-free income.  And a pony.  And a unicorn.  So, yeah.

Although hell, I’d settle for the rest of the week not sucking as much as today did.

September 13, 2008

Elements of the Ridiculous

Filed under: College,Flirting,Language — folledemot @ 7:52 pm

(It took me roughly a half an hour to figure out where I had heard that phrase before)

Back when I was writing under the nom de blog The Senior Senior, I spent a fair amount of space yammering on about a couple of crushes:  GSS, who, as a crush object, is no more, but is a stand up friend, and The Young Man.  Things seemed promising between The Young Man and I ages ago, but times have changed.  I kept wondering if I had completely misinterpreted things in the beginning, but now I think I was on track and wrong only to the extent he would be willing to pursue anything.  By which I mean that while he was (and maybe still is) attracted to me, I (for reasons I suspect I will never know) am just not his idea of “girlfriend material.”  Actually, I suspect that I have spent most of my life not being girlfriend material, although I’m not sure why.  I have it on good authority that I am an excellent girlfriend, not that it’s a goal of mine or anything, which could be why I am not perceived as being said girlfriend material.  Pardon me for preferring to work on being a good linguist.

So yes, I still have a bit of a crush on The Young Man, inconvenient though that may be.  However, much to my dismay, I have developed a new crush on a man, who, although not a coworker (which is always dicey), is nevertheless a not-especially-appropriate-person-to-have-a-crush-on.  Making matters worse is that he’s someone I see frequently, and propinquity is a bitch for tamping down crushes.

Now for the elements of the ridiculous.

I was out and about last night with some grad school cronies, shooting the shit and just generally having a good time.  And then I see Not So Very Appropriate Man.  If I hadn’t realized my inconvenient crush, I might not have gone to say hi, or went over to say hi – it would have been 6 of one, if you will.  However, with the crush working its wonders on me, I felt compelled to go over and say hi, all the while kicking myself for doing so.  Imagine the scenario:  A well-lighted place (a hipster hangout for all us arugula-eating liberal types).  I approach him, just to say hi, mind you.  We talk, and he’s involved in the conversation (good), but checked his phone twice (not so good).  It was a good conversation, and I had the presence of mind to excuse myself before I was given the hook.  I wasn’t flirting, but I wasn’t not flirting.

Being a serious-minded type, I don’t handle these things with aplomb.  In fact, much of my motivation stems from the hopelessly uncool 13 year-old girl with headgear that I once was back in the 80s.  This is clearly neither the best offense nor the best defense.

And so, I am forced to count down to the end of the semester, hoping that Spring semester will bring relief to what I suspect will be a very awkward 13 weeks.


September 12, 2008

Gaining Traction

Filed under: College,School,Uncategorized — folledemot @ 10:42 pm

Two weeks into grad school and I can already tell:  as a grad student, your goal is to keep some sort of traction – in your coursework, with your students (if you TA) and (probably most importantly) with your research.  As for myself, I feel a little like Dobbsy – not in the sense that people are out to rip me off, but in the sense that my perception and reality might not always match up.  In a word, I’m a touch paranoid that I’m behind.

And I don’t seem to be.  In fact, with some things, I’m actually a little ahead of the game.  I’m well aware that that might not last, hence the paranoia (I suppose).

I’m really glad I’m not teaching this semester – it’s so hard to accurately judge your workload in the beginning (of school, of the semester, of your research), and when the shit hits the fan, you want to have some wiggle room.  And right now, I’m really only home to sleep and use the Internet.  And shower.  But not in that order (well, not always in that order).

If I think of it, tomorrow’s post may be about the elements of the ridiculous that are clinging to me.

Create a free website or blog at