Tag Archives: grad school

Ahem

Well, it’s been a while.

I AM alive. So there’s that.

School is kicking my ass in a way I’ve never experienced before and I want to crawl into a hole and hide and hope some magical faeries will do my work for me.

It’s a problem.

Mostly I’m in such a state of panic that I don’t do anything because everything needed to be done last week. So prioritizing doesn’t happen because, again, everything needed to already be done.

Catch-22

Mostly I need to kick my own butt into gear and just get through this semester. If I can do that, next semester should be a little easier.

Also, Mr. A will be out of town all next semester for another amazing internship. LUCKILY, he won’t be as far away as he was last summer. He will be in my hometown and will be staying at my dad’s house. It will be a free place to stay, my dad is doing some really awesome stuff for Mr. A’s stay (such as turn one of the spare bedrooms into another living room so Mr. A will have a place to hang out).

BUT, because he will be gone, I will be back to blogging. I will finally have free time to do so and will need some more company.

I know people hate when people blog about not blogging, but I have met so many of you in person and have talked with so many of you on a regular basis that I thought I would check in. When I come back, I might start over, or just revamp this old thing. We shall see.

But no matter what, I’ll fill you all in. Also, you all rock, I hope your lives are super fantastic and amazing and I can’t wait to finally have time to catch up on it all!!

Now, what’s a thesis?

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Filed under Blogging, Grad School?, Teaching in College, Working Girl

Purgatory

These last two days have been just as I assume purgatory might be: boring, frustrating, pointless, but unable to leave.
The new GAs have had to be in training all last week and through Thursday this week. Thankfully us returners only have 3 days this week, but knowing I have to sit through one more day of pointless sessions, makes me want to scream and then run away.
Yesterday was just angering because they told us we are mandated to use four different kinds of software programs and their duties overlap and it’s pointless to have to keep attendance and grades in four different places.
Also, they couldn’t get their act together and have the same answer on anything and it was just ridiculous.
Today was just so incredibly boring. It was basically how to use a computer.
Would you have thought that if you can’t remember your password that you should click the “forgot password” button? You did? And you didn’t have to sit through a two hour training session? You must be smarter than a room of graduate students.
There were also the stupid and repetitive questions that made things just drag on even longer.
I’m fairly certain my eye roll skills tripled today.
Tomorrow will be the sexual harassment session, and after last year’s explosion, I may have to bring popcorn this time. Then again, I would imagine most people don’t want a repeat so they will probably keep their mouths shut. Bummer. Would be the only excitement of this three day torture marathon.
Tomorrow is also the meet and greet with faculty. I signed up and then realize it wasn’t mandatory and basically no one is going. Not excited but looks like it would look bad if I didn’t show. Meh.
So if anyone has any Good books to recommend, I would appreciate it because I have another 7 hours of awful tomorrow that I need something to keep me occupied.

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Filed under Grad School?, Teaching in College, WTF

Back on Track

Today was the first time I had to hang my head and send an e-mail to a professor that I am embarrassed of.

For those that have been around, you know I’m starting my second year of grad school for my master’s. That means that I am working on a thesis since I want to go on for my PhD and most schools want a thesis, not comps scores.

Middle of last spring, I was super motivated and typed up a big long thesis proposal. The professor I wanted to work with is going on sabbatical this fall, and I was a little nervous he wouldn’t want to take on another project. However, I had a little edge over others.

Mr. A graduates in May. That means we could be moving who knows where for a job for him. So unlike many other master’s students that could possibly stretch this out for an additional third year, I don’t have that luxury. I HAVE to be done in May. That means a thesis written, revised a million times, and defended by May.

So I have an extra push to get this business done.

So after hearing my proposal, some discussion, and realizing that I would not be wasting his time by dragging this out any longer than necessary, he agreed.

I should also mention that I adore this professor. He is brilliant and kind and encouraging and studies/teaches the same subjects I’m interested in. I feel honored that he agreed to be my thesis director, and also a bit nervous and do not want to disappoint him.

But, as you all know, this summer was…not ideal. Stepmom did that terrible thing that I try to block out and any sense of normality for me went out the window.

I was still having tot each my summer class, be a student in a very intense 4 week summer course, along with all the other responsibilities an adult has. Add in the additional stress of that event, and any spare time I had I was trying to relax and regain sanity.

Well, since professor is going on sabbatical, we had agreed that I would have a very detailed, 8-10 page outline for him by the start of the semester.

Guess who doesn’t have that, or even anything remotely close to that?

*hangs head in shame*

So I emailed him this morning to apologize and ask if he wanted me to send it to him once I got one done, or to just meet with my second reader and get her input on it all and we would meet again in the spring.

He hasn’t responded yet and my stomach is in knots because I feel like I let him down. Mostly, I’ve let myself down.

Motivation to do anything more than absolutely necessary has been minimal and I need to get my act together. I have only one semester of classes left and then a semester of thesis hours and I have to be completely finished in those two semesters.

Hopefully he understands and isn’t regretting working with me. I WILL have a lot to show him when he returns in January and hopefully he is impressed. Hopefully.

So any thoughts of motivation and encouragement that you can spare, would be greatly appreciated. Mostly so I don’t have to hide from him come January. And so my husband doesn’t kill me for not being ready to graduate in May.

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Filed under Useless

Weeks Ahead

Hello again. The last week of the summer session was crazy busy on top of some added family stresses. I then left the very next day to go visit a good friend of mine in Wisconsin, so I’ve been gone.

Of course, the day I got back, I got emails sharing both our pre semester training schedule and my new teaching schedule.

As for the training, well, it’s……special.

It will be three days where an office mate and I will sit in the back, try to contain the rolling of our eyes and find other ways to stay awake. Plan is to brainstorm lesson plans and to print short stories so we look engaged.

Now, I am typically a rule follower. I take a million notes at trainings and am actively engaged.

But when I looked over the schedule for the three days, there is only ONE session that looks even remotely helpful. The rest are being run by either people that have no business training others or about subjects that will only help/affect about 5 of the 95 GAs. Add in that last year was a total cluster, and I’m just trying to do things to keep me from quitting in those three days. I love my job, but this training will be pure torture. And not helpful.

I even have to help lead a session, but there are 3 other people on the panel for a 45 minute presentation and none of the other three will get with me or talk about what the hell we’re supposed to be presenting. Doesn’t help that 2 of them are from a group of girls that can’t differentiate between business and personal and if I won’t have my head up their ass in the personal, then they will screw me over in any way possible in the business. OH, and one of them hasn’t even taught the class we’re presenting about. Her section got cancelled. Again: cluster.

My plan is to be quiet and if someone asks me a direct question, answer as best I can. I can tolerate anything for 45 minutes. Or so I hope.

As for my new teaching schedule…it’s good and bad.

Good, because I no longer am teaching sections at 2 and 3 on MWF. NO one wants to be teaching at 4pm on a Friday. Certainly not me. No wonder they had to cancel those sections. When I last checked there were only 5 and 6 students registered for them.

Bad, because now all of my classes both taking and teaching are on Tuesday/Thursday. On Thursdays, I go from 9:30am-7:30pm with only a 1.5 hour break. I’m guessing on Fridays I will be SUPER unproductive.

Also, teaching 101 instead of 102. I have mixed feelings about this. 101, strangely, allows more variety in writing assignments, but the theme for this year is TERRIBLE. 102 is basically all research and can get tedious VERY quickly, but there isn’t a set theme.

Overall, I think it’s a better thing. Yes, it will be rough to have 5 classes those days, but then I can work on my own stuff the other three days. It will be a change from what I’ve been doing, and for my last semester of classes, I think a change will be nice.

Training starts Monday and then school starts the following week. Not a whole lot of free time left, so I’m trying to enjoy what I have left. That is a little more difficult since our mattress which was supposed to be delivered by today, won’t be delivered until late next week. Sleeping on the floor isn’t nearly as fun when you don’t have any other choice.

BUT, positive thinking on my end. I have a week and a half to relax and try to enjoy the rest of my free time, which will involve lots of kitty snuggles and fun reading.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Grad School?, Teaching in College

Dancing the Liberal Line

So, this might make people mad. Who knows. But I believe people should be able to disagree and be nice about it. And this has been bugging me for a while, so I’m blogging about it. Just like I blog about nearly everything else in my life.

I am in a very liberal department. I think most English/literature departments are probably the same. It comes from looking beyond what is right in front of us to the meanings behind everything. We look for connections and motivations and reasons.

I would also consider myself to be pretty liberal, especially with social issues. I believe in equality for all, not just those that fit into a box that some people feel everyone should fall into. It’s something I’ve always believed and worked hard to demonstrate in my own life.

That being said, I also feel that some people get their panties in a bunch over nothing. Some people feel the need to find an argument or a fight in nothing. Also, people are fully capable of disagreeing about a topic, but still being respectful and considerate. A thoughtful discussion can happen with the understanding that neither party is trying to tell the other that they are wrong or trying to persuade the other to change their opinion. I love discussions like that. Discussing ideas and opinions and ideologies in a respectful manner.

However, in my department, many of my colleagues seem to believe that we should all think and act in the same way.

In my department, I’m a bit of an outlier.

See, I don’t fit the typical liberal master’s student mold.

Many that I am in school with equate liberal with feminist. And in a lot of ways, I agree with many of the feminist ideals. Equality. Reproductive rights. Not being forced into stereotypical social positions simply based on gender.

But I don’t seem to garner the same respect.

I married young, which tends to go against the ideas a lot of my classmates have. A lot of them don’t want to get married or tend to put their nose in the air when they find out that I married at 23.

Also, I want kids. I have always wanted to be a mom at some point. But I believe that I am also in a field that will allow me to be a mom and have a career that I love. As a college professor, I will get a whole lot more freedom in arranging my schedule so that I can still be with and raise my kids.

I also want a house with a yard. I want to be able to paint walls and hang things up and if I screw something up, not being terrified that my landlord is going to be pissed. I won’t be happy that I messed it up, but then I can fix it, or not, because the house will be mine.

For some reason, I’m the odd man out. Last year, I can’t even count the number of times that I was made fun of by “friends” when these topics would come up. I quickly learned that I would not be able to discuss these things with these people without being ridiculed both to my face, and more than likely, behind my back.

However, the most recent barrage of loaded questions and side glances is that of what I’m not doing right now.

I’m not applying for PhD programs.

You see, my husband and I graduate next May. As many of you know, the legal job market isn’t great. A lot of job markets pretty much suck right now, but the legal one seems to really be struggling. So many young people went to law school because they didn’t know what else to do, so there is an influx of lawyers in a job market that was hit just as hard as anyone else.

Because of this, I’m not applying for PhD programs since we have NO CLUE where we will be living next year. We don’t know where Mr. A will be getting a job and how much he will be making or how long it will take us to get settled.

So, I’m making the smart and, in my mind, commonsensical decision to hold off. I don’t want to apply to some school, love it and get my hopes up, to only find out that my husband got a job 3 states over.

I have no problem holding off a year, waiting to see where we will be, then applying for schools in the area. I will get more time to take the GRE and really decide where I want to go. I get to apply for jobs and hopefully get a bit of a break from being a student and just work for once. Only have work responsibilities and not also stressing over papers and such.

But to the super liberals in my department, I am an alien. Also, I apparently don’t care about feminist issues and only wanted an MRS degree since I’m waiting to see where Mr. A’s career takes us.

If I hear one more time, “Well why doesn’t he follow you?” or “Why can’t he find a job where you get into a PhD program?” I might scream.

Had I been in a program that say only 5 schools in the country had, then Mr. A would be all about looking for jobs in those places.

Because we support each other 100%.

But I’m not. Most big or decent size schools have my program. Possibly even close schools would allow me to do it via the internet. So I’m waiting.

I don’t even like to call it compromising because I don’t feel that I am giving up a thing. This is what I want. I’m in a very supportive marriage. My husband was the one pushing me to do this and will do what he has to in order to make sure that I get to finish out my program, like I want to.

Just because I’m not immediately moving from my master’s into my PhD, doesn’t mean that I’ve reverted to a 1950s housewife that cleans in pearls and has dinner on the table at 6pm every night and is satisfied with a slap on the ass as my thank you.

That’s not me. That’s not the woman Mr. A married and it’s not at all the wife he wants. He likes that I have career ambitions and am educated and am not satisfied yet, that I’m striving for more.

I just hate that apparently I can’t have a career and thoughts AND a family. Why do those have to be separate things? Why can’t I have both without feeling like I am on the defensive all the time? Why can’t I give them a hard time for moving straight into the next program, for sleeping around, for never wanting to own a property because “it’s so much easier for someone else to be responsible for it”, for never wanting kids?

That’s right. Because I am a believer in each person doing what is right for them. One of my good friends never wants kids, so maybe I don’t send her pictures of cute/funny kid things I find, but she also jokes about kidnapping me for girls’ nights once I do have a baby. I know she will be happy for us, but I also won’t try to push my ideas about motherhood on her. To be honest, I will be happy to have a friend that doesn’t want to talk about breastfeeding and poopy diapers.

I just want some mutual respect for my life decisions. I’m not out doing heroine or stealing things or hurting others. I’m following my dreams, and those dreams comingle a career and a family life.

Sorry for the rant. I’m just so aggravated with all of this right now and I just want to feel like I’m doing the right thing. I KNOW I am. But I hate feeling like I have to defend it or that I’m being talked about since I’m not out at the bars 4 nights a week.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Grad School?, Life After College, Married Life

Seriously Update

So this is an update from yesterday.

After having a heart to heart with my husband, I had decided to talk to my professor and basically say that I wouldn’t be in class the day the other play was discussed and that I was going to try to find a critical lens that would allow me to avoid the suicide in my assigned play as much as possible.

However, when I got to campus today, my good friend gave me the idea of seeing if the gender and sexuality class that she is in, and that also just started yesterday, would fit the requirement being filled by the other class.

It sure helps to have an amazing secretary who has decision making abilities and who likes you.

So she approved it, marked it in my file, I filled out the paperwork and I have officially switched classes.

This new class is a history/women’s studies course focusing on gender and it’s role within modern European societies.

No suicide there!

So now I feel a HUGE weight is off my shoulders. I am just waiting for my original class to get out so I can go and talk with the professor and explain why I’m no longer in her class. Hopefully she understands. Especially since her husband is our department chair.

So wish me luck with that conversation and the 80-100 pages of reading I have for tonight to catch up, but this will be a lot less work and a lot less emotionally draining. Which is something I just can’t handle at the moment.

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Filed under A little More About Me, Grad School?

Breatheeee

I feel awful since this is now roughly the THIRD time I’ve had to take a blogging break.

I guess I feel bad because I really do love this hobby and have met some amazing people, but this last semester has kicked my ass.

I simply didn’t have time.

Yes, I had time to sit and watch tv. But when that rare opportunity occurred, the thought of having to type anything else out just wasn’t appealing, even though I missed all of you so very much.

BUT.

In case you don’t follow me on Twitter, I’m finished with my first year of grad school!!!!!

I am so freaking excited about this fact. I mean, a year ago I was working retail in a job I hated, which in turn, made me hate myself even though I was doing the “adult” thing by working to support my family.

A year later, I’ve finished my first year of grad school with (hoping!!) all A’s. (Waiting on the last grade to come in…I’ve checked it about a million times since Wednesday). I’m done with my first year of teaching college students, and while I sure had a rocky road, I’ve learned so so so much and I love where I am right now with my career.

And yes, it’s my career.

I’ve always wanted to teach at the college level. Always. I just thought that i would have to teach high school for a while first. But God had different plans and I’ve never been happier.

Yes, this year, specifically this semester, was hard.

I doubted myself constantly, thinking that maybe I wasn’t smart/good/talented/worthy enough for this opportunity. I still think that at times, but I’ve learned that I am as good as the other people in my program. I have worked HARD for this position and I will cherish every moment I have.

Do I complain about obnoxious students? Yes. Do I whine about papers and lack of sleep? Yes. And I am trying to work on that since I know I am blessed/lucky beyond belief to have this chance, but I am human and I do take things for granted. That being said, I am constantly in awe of this. Constantly. This whole thing was a fluke, but a fluke that I know was meant for me and I was in the right place at the right time.

Strangely enough, had it not been for the job I hated and happening to pick up an extra shift for a little extra money one day, I would not be here. A girl at work and I were talking about grad school and she is the one that informed me that this school had so many assistantship opportunities.

Funny how things work out…

And for those of you that have been here since then, none of this is new. But I feel like I need to make sure to give credit where it’s due and remind myself how lucky I am. So I do it here.

Mr. A and I are thoroughly enjoying this down time. We both have 4 weeks off until summer classes/teaching start and we plan on regaining our sanity. The last month of the semester was insane. Words can’t even describe it. One week, I had 6 nights in a row that I was in my office until after midnight. Mr. A and I rarely saw each other and we were testy and short with each other. Unfortunately, me more than him.

I had panic attacks and sobbing sessions. I freaked out and considered quitting. But I didn’t and I am so happy I didn’t.

Last week, I sat down with my thesis director so we could “road map” my thesis since I plan on starting it this summer. Strangely enough, I’m way ahead of the game and looks like I will have, roughly, a 120 page thesis that isn’t scaring the crap out of me. I am so incredibly excited about topic and my project that 120 pages seems completely doable, and even more so, enjoyable.

But, enough about school since I know all of us in school in some capacity is ready to avoid the subject for a bit.

Today, we DEEP cleaned the apartment since we both let it get completely out of hand the last month of school. Now, I hate cleaning. I am not domestic and chores might be my least favorite thing. However, having a very clean apartment sure was nice tonight.

Scout, however, hated it.

She doesn’t like change, and the amount of moving things around and loud noises that were happening, she was not happy with us. She spent most of the day hiding under the bed, which she hasn’t done since we first brought her home. However, once Mr. A left to help a friend move and I was just folding laundry, I lured her out with some treats and she napped in her chair.

Bonus of Mr. A helping someone move? The guy is moving to California, so can’t take too much with him, so he offered his awesome entertainment center with tv mount to us. It looks a million times better than the one we had before, especially since we had broken one leg when we, after a few drinks, decided to rearrange our living room. The tv stand was simply set on top of the broken leg, so a bump in the right spot would have sent everything flying. Needless to say, this is a HUGE upgrade. It even fits in the space better. Win win.

Tomorrow, a friend and I are having a late lunch and then getting pedicures. Mr. A leaves on Tuesday to go to Mville to see his mom and dad, and then he and his friends leave on Wednesday for a Vegas bachelor party. They won’t get back until midnight on Sunday, which means Mr. A won’t be home until roughly 4am on Monday. Mr. A is the best man, so this has been all his planning, so I’m happy for him to have a chance to relax and hang out with friends without school hanging over his head. They have bottle service at one of the most exclusive clubs and tickets to an amazing show. I tried to get them to go to Club Rehab on Sunday, but they weren’t sure it was worth the money since they would have to leave early to catch their flight home. Can you tell I’m SUPER jealous? I tried to get them to let me fly out with them, stay in a separate room and just lounge by the pool the whole time. For some reason, Mr. A just wouldn’t agree to that…

No worries thought. My MIL and I are going to have a girl’s weekend involving the restaurants in Mville that I miss, drinks, gossip, and time tanning on the deck. I think I still make it out okay.  ;o)

So that’s where we are as of right now. Did I leave anything out? How are all of YOU??? What do I need to catch up on??

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Filed under A little More About Me, Blogging, Grad School?, Married Life