Tuesday, 5 October 2010

I must be nuts.


So I'm now five weeks into my PhD program at Gothic Revival University. It's a rainy Tuesday morning, and instead of doing readings for courses only tangentially related to my field of study, putting together a reading list for my minor field of study, or scouring wikipedia for medieval absurdities, I'm blogging. There's a lot to blog about.

Since starting five weeks ago, I've read, read, and read. I'd forgotten what it was like to read a book a week for each class, and of course the supplemental readings. Also, having been in a heavily interdisciplinary Medieval Studies program for my master's two years ago (is it really two years? that can't be right... a little over two since it ended, three since it started. oof.), I've had to haul out and dust off my non-interdisciplinary toolbox. There's a lot of "isms" in there that haven't been used since undergrad, and which don't typically come up in studying medieval versions of things. Unless you're writing for Post://Medieval, of course.**

So between two classes (I know, only two. Heaven only knows how I'd fare with more) and my research work, I'm hovering around a thousand pages of reading per week. Add bureaucratic nonsense to the mix, and you've well and truly got a full-time job. I'd forgotten how much work it is to be a student. Oh and did I mention I'm working on language requirements, too?

Of course, I'm whining all the way to the bank. What it comes down to is this: I'm being paid to do what I love, full-time! With benefits!***

This is fantastic.

Sure I could be making more in the private sector. Actually, looking at the math, a full-time job at $13/hour pays better. But I love this.

Plus, everyone in my department is just so darn helpful and nice. It's... actually really odd. I'm not usually the glass-is-half-full guy, and maybe it's just the honeymoon period, but this is great. Of course, I still haven't unpacked fully par-ce que Ikea shipped Vaulting's desk sans screws and the sides of the drawers, et avec broken drawer rollers; I can't walk around without tripping over things; it's only the 5th of the month and I'm already 3/4 of the way through my personal monthly spending allowance; I'm grappling with (apparently common) feelings of imposture; when I get out I have an absurdly low chance of getting a TT job; oh and I've had to get a $9/hour job to make ends meet; but I still can't shake the fact that I'm actually doing this.

And that's enough to make up for a lot.

So if you ever stumble into me in New England Metropolis, and I'm looking a little frazzled, don't worry. For all I'll outwardly show the wuss, on the inside I'll be smiling.

But you're always welcome to buy me a pint ;)

* The gif was found online here.
** I jest, but it really does seem to me to be the crux of the intersection of medievalism and literary theory.
*** I mean sure, it's not Canadian health care, but it's better than no health care, and it's included.


revgrant said...

If you're in Cambridge, love to buy you a pint. I enjoy the blog, and at least some stuff medieval (some other blogs are way too technical and academic for me). Found yours from Chaucer Hath a Blog; afraid that's more my speed.

Simon Thomson said...

LOVE this: can't wait to have the same feelings in a few years' time. Keep the honeymoon rolling!

Vellum said...

revgrant - Vaulting and I could find our way there :)

Simon - every day alternates back and forth multiple times between wondering what the hell I'm doing and having those "THAT'S what I'm doing this for" moments that make it worthwhile. :) So far.