The life of a grad student

To be sure, I lead a charmed life. I’ve got a safe home (two, in fact), running water, electricity, an abundance of food, a warm bed, a nice car, a loving husband and fam and friends. My cup runneth over, as they say. But sometimes, I can feel my lifestyle. What I mean by that is, the life of a grad student can weigh heavily at times. Like this week, for instance.
First year grad student
With little sleep and lots of coffee (for me, anyway), my comrades-in-words and I just made it through the trenches of an intensive take home + in-class exam that tested our knowledge of a semester’s worth of articles. Dozens of authors and hundreds of pages and thousands of ideas… all distilled into a 15 page essay plus an in-class short answer test, the writing of which left my right hand tingly and cramped. All of that would be fine save for the waiting essays and tests and grading and lack of sleep and travel and conferences and, and, and, and.

I find myself desperately wishing for Thanksgiving, but knowing I’ll spend the day (between bites of mashed potatoes and gravy and PIE) thinking about the transcription I haven’t completed, the fieldnotes yet to be coded and the student papers I’ve avoided grading. Sigh.

Of course, all of that said, I’m grateful for this life. I get paid to think and write and teach (prisoner’s wages, but still). My sweetheart supports me straddling two states to achieve my dreams. And, despite the monster reading lists, painful exams and 16 hour days, I’ve kinda found my calling. That’s pretty cool.

And so, enough bitching. I need some sleep to face the TSA on the busiest travel day of the year. Wish me luck!


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