things about grad school that i haven't yet figured out that i hope to figure out soon, in order to hold onto my last remaining shreds of sanity and dignity:
1) when you have a job that requires you to work 10 hours a week, try to split this time into, say, 2 hours a day 5 days a week. this is better than not doing it at all for 2 weeks and then feeling guilty and working 2 consecutive 10 hour days in a row to appease your conscience.
2) drinking coffee for breakfast and lunch every day seems like a great idea most of the time, and can lead to others’ false impressions about how much you exercise or maybe how much you don’t eat donuts, but it can also be a fast track towards having paranoid delusions regarding how your dog keeps staring at you like that and what does he KNOW?!
3) every week, try to do at least 5% of your required readings. lindsey. 5%. come on. seriously.
4) do not, under any circumstances, mutter “that’s what she said” when a professor says something to you that includes the word ‘rough’ or ‘long.’ because then your professor WILL ask you what you just said, and you WILL have to pretend you are not a 15 year old boy.
5) if at all possible, try to squeeze in at least an hour a week to play mortal kombat on your sega genesis with someone who will let you transfer all of your suppressed rage and disillusionment onto Kano or Scorpion. tears will be shed. dropkicks will be administered. your playing partner must understand this.
I was getting these two precious little hand-made drawings framed at a local framing store today (it only took me 4 months to get it done!). The guy who was doing the framing is a local legend - an artist in every sense of the word. We were having a wonderful conversation, and towards the end of my time in his shop I mentioned I was going to live down in Arivaca for the summer. He asked why and what I do, and I paused for a nano-second and then responded, “Oh, I’m an anthropologist. I’m going down there to do an oral history project on ranchers.” His reaction was a pleased gasp while clasping his hands together and smiling broadly. He went on to talk about how he minored in anthropology, had always loved it, read a book about the yanomamo tribe, et cetera et cetera.
When I uttered that sentence, it’s not so much his reaction that made me happy as was my realization. A lot of people seem to have run into anthropology at one point in their lives, and have realized that it really is a topic, in all its humanist glory, to be in love with. Since going to school, when people vocalize this love, often times I don’t agree. I think about the shitty grunt work and the mind-numbing tasks and the difficulty of being a student. When I say “I’m a graduate student in anthropology,” there isn’t much to love. When I say “I’m an anthropologist,” I can connect the dots. I can visualize a time in the not-so-distant (in cosmic vision, anyway) future when I am doing what I love, when I am acting out the mind-expanding fantasy I first had when taking anthropology classes - the type of fantasy all those other people had but never ventured further into the field to make real. From now on, I will say I am an anthropologist (or, if I really needs to be realistic, I will say I am an anthropologist in training). I am an anthropologist, god damnit. Without the degree (yet), without the TA-ing (yet), without reading the entire canon of Foucault and Marx and Gramsci (ugh, yet), I have everything that’s important to be one. I have the love - even if grad school tries to take it away.