I really, really do.
Graduate school is painful, draggy, a means to an end.
Components of Graduate School:
1. Mountains and Mountains of reading. Reading assignments that the teachers themselves hasn’t read since 1983. Reading that is never again addressed or spoken of in class or otherwise. It is almost as if there is some formula out there: read 8 million journal articles and 27 text books and suddenly you’re a master! Poof! Master status! What actually happens to the reading is you read the intro and the conclusion and skim the rest, high lighting random sections so you have something to pontificate on in class should the occasion arise, spoiler alert: it rarely does. The other night in my research class I was fortunate enough to remember a term from a research case study I had read the previous week. I felt like a champion when I said “That refers to a word of mouth study recruitment right? I remember it being referenced in last week’s case study.” One gold star for me!
2. In-Class discussion. This is also code for “I didn’t prepare a lecture adequately and this damn class is 2.5 hours for some reason. It’s 7 pm and we’re all fucking tired so please someone say something topical to spark a debate.” My new, least favorite sound, is that of graduate students sitting in uncomfortable silence after the professor has said “Lets have everyone check in about the material to get us back into the swing of class.” You can literally hear people panicking in their brains, “I read the material but I hated every second. I just read the letters and made the words in my brain! I can’t talk about eye dryness and lack of comprehensionnnnnnn” Finally some brave soul will pipe up with a completely shallow analysis of the material spoken in their meekest voice possible. This person is almost always, without a doubt, the middle aged graduate student that hasn’t been in a classroom in twenty years and fears failure more than death. The whole thing is a miserable charade. Especially in my program of study where so much of the work really should be taught by doing. Often I want to just throw a tantrum and beg my professors to tell us stories, honestly. Those are the times when class is most engaging, listening to real life field experience.
3. 10-15 page papers in APA format. First of all. APA formatting can go die in a fire as far as I’m concerned. You are not going to publish this god awful paper I have written. Why is it not sufficient that I just tell you where the quote came from after I quote it. Why? Are you really going to suffer if I don’t indent? No. No, you are not. Also, why are we even PRETENDING Professor? Why!? We all know that you are not going to diligently comb through twenty different 10-15 page papers! That’s too much work! Ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, I am going to spend lots of time writing a paper, worrying, praying and clenching my jaw because your instructions were simultaneously specific and also confusing as fuck because instead of writing a new syllabus every semester you’re just slightly re-doing last years and forgetting to copy and paste stuff into different sections and the whole thing is a disorganized mess. Then you’re going to collect it, and neglect to grade it before the second paper is due therefore causing all the more worry and jaw clenching because “what if i did it wrong the first time!?” and then after all that you’re going to pass the first paper back with some random check marks in the margins and the comment: “you are a great writer.” I AM A GREAT WRITER, THANK YOU. THIS IS ALSO NOT A MOTHER FUCKING CREATIVE WRITING CLASS YJHDGKHJLTLIRQPEO.
4. Procuring an internship. You are going to have to go to a mandated internship meeting and sit in seats while faculty reads a packet to you. A packet you hold in your very own, very literate, hands. They will read it to you and you will nod and shift in your chair and eat M&M’s. They will sing the praises of the school’s reputation and they will assure you that if you follow the packet’s instructions you will find an internship. You follow the instructions. You are a virtuous soul. You do it in a timely manner. Months later you find yourself filling out paper work. Waiting. filling out more paperwork. Emailing. Worrying if you’re being a pushy asshole. Worrying that you’re not advocating for yourself enough. Spending wasted printer ink and squandering stamps and checking your gmail inbox every thirteen seconds only to find an email stating to please “forward the following paperwork.” And then you throw your laptop into a wall whilst crying out “HELP ME JESUS FOR I HAVE ALREADY SENT THE PAPERWORK. I HAVE SENT ITTTTTTTTTTTTTT. I HAVE SENT IT BY THE MAIL, I HAVE SENT IT BY THE SNAIL. I HAVE SENT IT DIGITALLY ATTACHED. I HAVE SENT IT PDF. I HAVE IT OVER HERE. I HAVE SENT IT OVER THERE. JUST LET ME HAVE AN INTERVIEW BEFORE I GROW OLD AND DIE.”
5. There is no number 5 because I have to go read 3,000 pages on white privilege.