emerging briefly from the mere

March 7, 2008 at 4:11 am (grad school)

So for those of you just tuning in, I’m in my first year of a PhD program, working on a degree in medieval literature.

I’m also 10-15 years older than most of my cohort, a first-generation college student, a single mother from a working class background, and irredeemably rough around the edges, or, to put it kindly, “colloquial.”  I wrote my way into a five year fellowship at a (private) RU/VH university, and now I’m here and I don’t know what fork to use, how to ask the library if I can have a book, or how one goes about teaching these 20 year olds who are already in command of three languages, have families who don’t think a six pack of beer is a nice Christmas present, drive cars that were made in this century, know how to use EndNote, and have spent the last few summers abroad.

I’ve been having a hell of a time adjusting to this place, and this semester has basically seen me fall into several holes without having any clear idea of how to get myself out, including getting my first “B” on an English paper since I was a sophomore in college in 1992.  I am happy to say I’m working on it, and I’m getting my “drive” back, but my confidence has really taken a nose dive, and to be honest, it wasn’t all that great before.

I think one of the things that makes me irredeemably rough around the edges is that my feelings are probably not all that rare, but admitting them and talking about them is something of a faux pas, yet I do it anyway.  But hey — I never figured out what fork to use for shrimp or whatever, I wear boots every day, I cuss a lot, and I vent.  I doubt that’s going to change any time soon, so I’m not going to try to hide it.  (And yes, I know how to dress in the classroom and at conferences, and you can ask my former students — I only cuss in class when it’s absolutely necessary).

I don’t actually have any idea why I’m posting this, except I’m feeling lame that I haven’t posted anything at all in a while, and this is my gesture towards “this blog is not dead, just temporarily impaired.”

Anyway, I expect I’ll be posting an annotated bibliography of materials dealing with Grendel and Cain here in a week or two, assuming I can get through Emerson’s 1906, hundred-page “Legends of Cain” with my summarizing abilities intact.  So there’s that to look forward to.  If you’re a masochist.



  1. Eileen Joy said,

    So, sorry about your recent feelings of discombobulation, but how cool is it that you are reading that 1906 article by Emerson on the Cain legends? I thought I was the only one who had actually read that. Indeed, it has a privileged place on my work-table. Cheers, Eileen

  2. Karma said,

    It nearly killed me, that article, but there’s so much stuff to mine in there….

  3. Placidly said,

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Placidly!

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