Thursday, October 14, 2010

Growing Pains

Hello blog. Nice to see you. It's been a long time.

Those are nearly the opening lyrics of a Conway Twitty song I grew up with. It always reminds me of another Conway Twitty song, "Happy Birthday Darlin," a song which inexplicably made me cry my eyes out on my fourth birthday as I sat on the dining room floor looking at a catalog of home decor, including owls made of brown and yellow yarn and wooden beads. Because of these admissions, you can probably tell I will be 30 years old tomorrow. I plan on listening to some Conway Twitty.

My growing pains associated with turning 30 are only slight. I need to do something small for myself, like get an actual haircut. That should fix me right up. The more intense growing pains I'm experiencing have to do with grad school.

I'm in a masters program that is in no way designed for the aspiring PhD student. As I take more and more away from the course materials, it has become evident that I am in the wrong place, a place where there is no room for a student like myself to grow. This has nothing to do with other students (one of them started out super pretentious, then backed off completely). I know there are snobs and egos everywhere. It's just everything else about the program.

I blame myself for not aiming higher. I decided I had to stay local for grown-up practical reasons. Also, not one person I talked to really knew what it was like at this school. After two years of looking forward to this idea I had of "graduate study," within three weeks I became tortured by it.

But there is something new to look forward to! I'll have a new start in the Spring, in what I have verified through brilliant, trusted former professors is a super-traditional MA to PhD program in literature, with a teaching assistantship, a program in which one professor assured me I will "kick so much butt." (Last Friday I went out for drinks with all my old profs and felt so at home. Even if a school occasionally sucks, you should at least feel at home.)

I'm pissed, tortured, disappointed by this fall, but so hopeful for next semester. I think about it constantly. I feel like I'm running away or not finishing what I started, but at the same time I have to be an adult about this. So I asked yet another faculty member for advice before making a decision -- "No reason to be more unhappy than usual," she said. The consensus seems to be that there is no ideal place to be for this yucky thing called graduate school. It will probably always be "teh suck" in one way or another. But preventable, protracted misery is not a state in which anyone should spend five years or even two years of their lives. I will be at least 35 before I can be a "professor." And I don't want to look it. Here's to a fresh start at 30.

1 comment:

  1. Happy birthday. 30 aint so bad. Good luck on your new school endeavor.


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