end of semester whinging

April 25, 2008 at 2:05 am (grad school)

Once again I’ve gotten myself into “four seminar papers and a final exam” territory, and once again they’re all happening in the same seven-day span.  But next semester, I’m TAing one course, taking one 4 credit seminar, taking undergrad level Latin, and taking a 2 hr directed reading of Anglo Saxon gospels. So next semester should be slightly less insane with the paper writing.

In the meanwhile, I’m working on these projects:

a word study of “untydras” in Beowulf (not getting much of anywhere)

a way to turn that work into something worth sending an abstract of to SEMA

masochism in Crashaw’s poetry

marketability in the Profession of English, and

narrative and trauma in Tim O’Brien’s _The Things They Carried_

I could not care less about the Profession class project, and I’m already bored with the trauma project, even though I haven’t actually written any of it yet.  But I’m actually having fun chasing wild needles up brick walls, or somesuch untydre metaphor, for the OE class, and I’m having a lot of fun reading Ignatius’ spiritual exercises, Crashaw’s hyperbolic poetry, and Bataille’s Erotism.

But it’s ten o’clock, the OE paper is due Tuesday, my alarm will go off at 5:45 so I can cook breakfast and put the kidling on the bus, I’m not done with my research, I have a presentation on Crashaw with annotated bib on Wednesday, and I really really really want to go to sleep.   That’s all fine and good. The alarming thing is that the more I learn about the profession, the more I see that life post-Phd isn’t really any easier, and can in fact be somewhat worse as a new, junior faculty member or seeker-on-the-market.

I can do a 20K road march with 40 lbs strapped to my back in 2 hours (ok, probably not anymore).  I can write a seminar paper in three days (assuming I have been doing the research all along).  I can throw a grenade, field strip an M-16, take out an assailant’s pressure points, and tune up my car.  I can live in poverty and live with sleep deprivation, and I can get three meals out of a can of carrots, a box of macaroni, and some bacon bits.  I can teach a class on Swift and Pope with eight hours’ notice (I doubt it was good, but I did it.)

But I’m not sure I can hang in there with these CONSTANT RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS OF WRITING ON TIGHT DEADLINES for another SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS or something.  Ugh.  I swear grad school is a lot like basic training.  Only basic training is a lot shorter.

While I’m whining, I need to know about Welsh loan words in Old English.  Any recommendations out there?


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