Friday, November 16, 2007

Two Selves

I feel more and more like I am two halves of a whole person, and one of the halves is a sad girl.

On one side is the energetic rugby player, freelance writer, wife of Corey. She does great things like help with her team's Brewfest fundraiser, explore once again the Phipps Conservatory, or play intense games of speed Scrabble with her friends. Last night, this half of Katy got a ride from a dude named Nickel after a rugby meeting and went to a vegan feast. It was awesome. We played a board game called Screwball Scramble. We had fun, we laughed, we cheered when people beat a hard section of the game. Everyone was straightforward and nice.

On the other side is the graduate student, who hates just about everything related to school. This Katy can't believe how anti-student academia turns out to be. This half of me feels shocked that "the system" is broken and that nobody really seems to care much about teaching at a large university. Not one but two faculty members cancelled meetings with me today, citing reasons such as not having read my manuscript. I turned it in a month ago. How am I supposed to feel welcome here? How am I supposed to revise 363 pages in time for the spring graduation deadline if I can't get feedback? This half of Katy cowers in fear from strange mental politics she doesn't understand. Her mind reels at unwritten rules and goes crazy with the strange competitions created at school.

I have to figure out how to reconcile the halves of myself, or at least make the fun half of my life strong enough to tide me over until April 28. I had no idea graduate school would be the thing to turn me away from academia and make me despair. I always, on the other hand, knew that rugby and other healthy competition would increase my love of life.

4 comments:

Amy Manidis said...

I was telling a friend the other day that you were a writer and thought to myself for the first time what a cool job that is. I've been reading the city papers a lot too. Just remember, you have to walk through the desert to get to the pyramids.

PeaceLoveMath said...

We're going to miss you and Corey on Thursday...Paul's parents and sister are coming to my parents' house, so you and Corey will be the only ones missing!!

My Other Car is a Bike said...

As someone who is older (the wiser aspect is very much in question!), I can tell you that grad school is indeed a limbo for young adults. A time in one's life when one is usually totally on one's own and making the best of given opportunities and newly acquired self-sufficiency. It's also a time when one, many times, feels as if one has landed back at square one in the educational maze - "What am I doing back in school? I should be partying, playing rugby and scrabble, enjoying time with my spouse instead of chasing down professors who are just marking time until retirement kicks in."

Take a deep, cleansing breath; get done the work that is necessary to graduate (at times no matter how much groveling may need to be done); and concentrate on the fun side of life in full recognition of the goal(s).

So sayeth the chronologically impaired.

Bethany Rusen said...

yeah, i've actually been feeling that sort of despair as well...in a meeting today, one of my advisors once again dropped hints to me to dumb down my class for my hapless freshman students. it's funny, i keep thinking back to my freshman year at Tyler when they gathered together my 200 member freshman class and told us that only two percent of us would end up being working artists. they weren't kidding.