Years ago when I was an editor at my undergraduate newspaper, we were covering in earnest (naturally) the college’s search for a new president. To make a long story short, the gentleman selected for the job had been at the school for a few years, was fond of interacting with students, and was good at giving great quotes. Really, is there anything better for college journalists? Besides, of course, garnering the respect of their community who, instead, might use each week’s copy as placemats in the dining hall rather than caring much about the work of the sleepless zombies stuck in some (usually) basement office at all hours? That always seemed like it would be great to me. Perhaps for my successors.
In any case, among my friends and I, several of whom were fellow newspaper people, one particular quote of our new president became a part of our crew’s lexicon because it was just so apt for describing any number of life situations, and is ever more useful as the years fly by. I give you: “Life, she is a crazy monkey face”.
This week, another one spent trying to enter perpetually overcrowded elevators in a sterile modernist orange-staired building on 16th street, feels like a tipping point from which we’ll be speeding through to the end of the semester. Quite suddenly, I had this sense of how fast things are flying by, a different sensation for me than fall semester’s meandering pace. Right now I’m looking at the calendar feeling urgency, wanting to redouble my efforts to be back in the working world, and that’s where I’ll be heading for the rest of this term. We have a couple of weeks until spring break, but what with the projects due immediately prior and the rapid pace into which you emerge after, it’s no wonder I’m starting to feel things are MOVING.
No doubt this is also exacerbated by the fact that we are in the midst of fairly extensive institutional change (more about that when we know more), generating an air of activity and uncertainty in some quarters, and for me, a thought that “this is NOT what I was expecting!!!” (Granted, there are also part-time students who have said to me a version of: as long as I can still graduate in [their goal date] I DON’T CARE. That is a logical view for some to have. These things do depend. It’s also always better to appear nonchalant than worked up, so there could also be that interpretation.)
However, it being graduate school, I should have remembered my own advice, which is that you’re always going to encounter the unexpected in grad school: courses are canceled, faculty go on sabbatical just before your master’s project, how things “work” change, you discover an honestly new interest in something you hadn’t known before. Grad school is a place rife with reason for lines like “life, she is a crazy monkey face”. Funny, silly, unsettling, perhaps even scary, but certainly nothing like what you thought you would be in for, no matter how much you tried to answer every single question you had before beginning.
Although one question I had before I started here, concerning how well more humanities/”creatively oriented” people like myself actually performed in courses like quantitative methods, was well answered: just fine, and even well. I concur. Quant is not an unbeatable monster; it is something you need to respect and tackle one step at a time, certainly, but it feels doable. I’ve been afraid to say so as I’m superstitious, but so far, so good. Now THAT is an unexpected feeling for me.