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Archive for September, 2011

Rust

When I entered grad school a year ago, I was energized, motivated, and ready to go. I had a set of goals for the semester as well as a set of goals for the program overall. I came in like gangbusters and I went hard. I mean I went H.A.A.M. on that first semester. I was studying until all hours of the morning, really putting the work and the effort.

What a difference a year makes. As we settle into semester and I’m taking one of most challenging courses I’ve taken since perhaps the logic course I took in undergrad (shoutout to Prof. Stiv Fleishman), I can’t seem to get the mojo back. The same fire and desire I had when I entered isn’t there anymore. Am I looking too much at graduating in May? Is it possible to have senioritis in a two-year program? Maybe I’m just rusty. I didn’t take any summer classes so maybe that’s it. Maybe my personal priorities have changed. There have been some major developments on the home front that could be distracting me. That’s part of it, definitely, but I’ve been talking to other classmates and some of them are experiencing the same thing. Some people have just “hit a wall.” But how do you hit a wall in a two-year program?

I can pontificate about the why and wherefores all night, but the reality is that there needs to be a gearshift – like yesterday. It’s the fourth week of the semester and things move fast in grad school. If you get buried early, it’s really hard to get out.

One thing I’ve noticed about the start of the second year is that people don’t congregate in common areas as much as they used to. It’s kind of like in college where everyone is friendly freshman year because they want to make friends, but by senior year everyone has their friends/cliques/crews, etc. Only in grad school it’s really, really condensed. As a side note, that would make an interesting anthropological study, on the social habits of students in higher education as they move through their program.

I wonder how many of my colleagues are experiencing the same thing. I’ve only talked to a few people so it’s not necessarily a representative sample. Of course, if more of us congregated like we used to we could actually have this conversation (that’s a tongue in cheek joke).

If anyone knows of any applicable anthropological studies, please let me know.

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The second year, third semester is under way. We’re in the third week, so why does it feel like the sixth? Summer was good and productive.  I interned in Newark, NJ working on public education. Very good and eye-opening experience. I didn’t plan to get an internship in education policy but it definitely broadened my policy scope. I went to a session Career Development on internships last semester in which one of the students recommend keeping your options open, and I agree with that 100%.

But enough about the summer, we’re back in school now.  I’m taking four classes. Two of them deal with finance. Did I mention I’m not quantitatively inclined? I’m taking these classes precisely because I’m not strong in this area. I figure it’s better to work on your weaknesses in grad school than to only focus on your areas of strength. There’s no point to spend all of this money on a degree just to augment what you do well and not learn any new skills. In fact, isn’t learning new skills the purpose of going to school? Yup. Exactly.

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