Wednesday, November 17, 2010

So Much Work, So Little Time

I'm working the Writing Center hours in the library tonight from 5 - 8 p.m., along one of the undergrad tutors.  It can be a real drag, since it's normally pretty dead, but it gives me time to do other things... this this, for instance.  A little extra time here and there is a good thing, I need it.  Matt seems to hate these nights when I'm out until late with work or school, but he's learning to cope.  It's much better this semester than it will be next, I only have one class at night and work in the library ever three weeks right now.  Next semester I'll have two night classes and work in the library, and he'll have a night class, which will be on a different night than my night classes -- did that make sense?  I hope so.

As it stands right now, next semester won't matter one iota if I don't get everything done in the next few weeks for this semester.  I'm in the final stretch with my classes, with less than two weeks until both of my long papers for the semester are due and I'm not nearly done.  I have a hell of a lot to work on between now and then, and I'm more worried that I'm not worried than I am about the papers.  And now I'm worried because worrying is what I do, and if I'm not doing it, my level of detachment is worse than I thought it was.  I need to start worrying, and soon, because worrying about worrying isn't cutting it.  Great, now I'm worried about worrying about not being worried!

I know I'll be less nuts when I get them done, it's just a matter of doing it that seems the problem.  I can't seem to get a good start, which I should have already gotten; I have starter's block!  I can't start.  Once I start, getting them worked on is easy, it's starting I can't seem to manage.  In addition to getting those papers done, I have to start the short papers for my history class because they're due by the end of the semester and I still have two that aren't even begun.  Oh, and I have finals in all of my classes to worry about, but not in the next few weeks, so that's okay.

The moral of the story seems, then, to be that grad school is harder than I thought it would be.  Working while going to grad school is insane.  Working while going to grad school and trying to have a personal life is impossible.  That pretty much sums it all up.  I seriously wonder how my friends with kids do it?  Graduate school is hard enough when you have a husband who can semi-fend for himself, kids have to be taken care of.  I wouldn't be able to cope with kids and grad school, it's one nervous breakdown inducing lifestyle issue at a time for me.  I'm not that stable... I hardly remember to feed my dog.

At least labs are nearly over.  The labs for the basic writing classes are meeting for the last time this week, so after tomorrow's 1:00 p.m. lab, I won't have that to do.  However, I'll have to fill in those hours in the Writing Center instead, so it's not really less work.  Not that I'm complaining because all in all, as jobs go, this one is pretty nice and they're very understanding about all that we have going on since they're a part of the university.  They're sensitive to the fact that we're not just employees, we're students as well.  Still, between work and going to class, time to work on the papers is short and when I am at home there're other things I want to be doing, or I'm exhausted, or both.

Next semester will be both better and worse than this one.  I'll be teaching both the class and the labs, but there're less classes and labs overall.  I'll also be working in the writing center and attending my own classes, two of which will be from 6 - 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  The other class, because I have to take 9 credit hours to qualify for the assistantship (even though 6 hours is full time for a grad student), will be directed readings.  Directed readings is a special problems course every thesis-track graduate student takes in the English department.  It's constructed together with my graduate committee chair person, who will also be teaching the course, and will include reading primary texts (of my choosing) and discussing them in preparation to write the thesis.  I sat down last week with Dr. Y, my committee chair and all around awesome prof and we filled out the paperwork for enrollment, we even got to name the course, which we're calling "Representations of Woman as Monster in Literature."  This is, of course, a remarkably wide open topic, so some narrowing will have to take place soon so I can compile a list for consideration during the Christmas break.  All in all, I'm looking forward to that.

Next semester is also special because it signifies a turning point in my career as a graduate student.  After next semester, I won't be taking any more face to face courses.  Everything beyond that point will be internship and thesis hours.  Internship is 3 hours per semester for two semesters (1 school year) and involves receiving credit for doing the teaching graduate assistantship.  In other words, I'll be getting paid to teach English 111 & English 112 (college comp 1 & 2) as a part of my job as GA, and getting college credit for it.  It's a pretty sweet deal.  Thesis is a 6 hours graduate course which most of my peers will only take one, but that I will take twice since I'm ahead.  It's really strange, actually, and the only reason it'll work out like that is that I've committed myself to staying and working for 2 years as a graduate assistant, which means I'll be here one semester longer than than I should be in school, and since I need 9 hours to be GA, I'll take thesis to fill the space.  When I graduate, I'll have between 9 and 15 too many hours.  In all, though, it's better this way because I'll have twice as long to work on my thesis as any of my classmates.  I may need it.

Okay, so now that I've droned on and on, much longer than I expected to, I'm off to do other things.  I hope everyone's having a better, more productive week than I am!