Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Douchebaggery of Graduate School: How It Happened to Me

It's beginning to look a lot like fall here, don't you think?

A little over a week ago, I was embarrassed for the first time in grad school (and that's a hard thing to do because I practically have no shame). A classmate and I were goofing off and writing notes because the class is pretty much pointless anyway, as the general consensus of the class agrees. The professor suddenly says:

 "Any thoughts from the back corner?"

"Oh, I've got lots of thoughts. They're all just... floating around in my head." 

I realized then that no one was laughing and the professor proceeded to ask us to read our notes aloud to the class. (There wouldn't have been much to read, unless you count a game of Hangman as literature). Somehow we were able to recover, but felt like total douche bags, and eventually apologized.

After crying in the car for 45 minutes, I sent the professor an email that said: We all have our moments of stupidity and I guess this was just one of mine. More importantly, I don't want you to think I'm a jerk...

I felt really immature and ridiculous for awhile. In my undergraduate courses, if I made a serious comment, no one in the class would know how simply hilarious I am in real life and thus think of me as a yuppy idiot. In a class filled with my friends and coworkers, I felt like I could get away with a joke and was immune to punishment or shame. I was wrong. 

My writing center adviser thinks I'm too hard on myself. So I'm trying not to be. I realize how much he values my contributions to the writing center, class, and believes that I'm not only humorous but serious. They always say "there's a time and a place for everything" and I guess that's true to some extent. But what exactly is expected of us in graduate school? Is it just supposed that we know our shit and thus we are just there to circulate and expand on our ideas? Or are we still like undergrads, vying for a chance to prove ourselves worthy? I feel somewhat trapped in-between.

Meagan, Brit, and Daniel

Katelyn and Scott

It may not come as a surprise, but my writing center cohort and I went out to eat. Again. This time to a restaurant I've been dying to try for some time--Dakshin, an Indian place on Bardstown Road, with a menu separating the dishes by regions. (I prefer the North!). It's almost as if the writing center director hand-selected my best friends for me. I don't think I could've found this many great people all at once in my life. 

Meagan is a staunch feminist who will randomly drop curse words in a deep voice, to the dismay of those who normally expect her sweet, country twang. We both adore Modcloth and OutofPrint! She reminds me so much of my best friend, Kelsey.

Brit is an absolutely brilliant author of not one, but TWO books. She's basically an expert in gender/queer theories and I imagine one day her face and name will be recognizable to the household name. Her bluntness is refreshing and hilarious.

Daniel, as Brit put it, is kind of a mirror image of myself. We have similar tastes and senses of humor. We also just don't care what we say or when we say it.

Katelyn kind of helps me to stay on top of my shit. She'll be worried about certain assignments and it reminds me that I should maybe start my own work... she's also helped me be more at ease with some of my writing center clients because of the descriptions she's given me beforehand.

And Scott... well, all I can really say is that he's really cute once he's been drinking. Our interests are bizarrely in sync and I could talk to him for days without tiring.  

Hoping to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower with Julie, go to a haunted corn maze and/or house with the writing center, and um, finish the paper I've been trying to write for four hours. It's due tomorrow.