Wednesday, June 29, 2011

what graduate school taught me

I thought the next time I would post on here would be after I had submitted everything. But even I need a break. I have things to do tomorrow and Thursday that will keep me from my thesis. But then Friday night after work, I have three things left to do on it: fix my citations (there are seven left that I need to confirm), add my "figures" (the photos), add page numbers, and format the whole thing. Then I will send along my final draft with a big sigh.

In the meantime, I have been thinking about graduate school, about what it has cost me and what I gained. This idea was prompted by a $30 parking ticket I received while I was at the university, taking care of some of my graduation details. Eh, at this point $30 is nothing compared to the entire degree (not just the money spent on classes, nor the time spent schooling/reading/writing/studying when in theory I could have been working, nor the hours of my time devoted to the work). I did realize there have been a few things I have learned, thanks to graduate school:

1. An advanced degree does not automatically make you smart.
2. Bureaucracy is everywhere; universities just happen to provide excellent examples of them.
3. There is a point when the amount of coffee you drink will not counter the effects of your lack of sleep.
4. You don't think you like coffee? Wrong.
5. "Good enough" generally happens when a paper is due within the half-hour and you still have to find a way to get to campus... and park.
6. Showers are over-rated. Just don't sit too close to classmates (but that time you saved not showering gave you a few extra minutes of sleep, reducing your required coffee intake).
7. Procrastination is inevitable so incorporate it into your plans.
8. Three-point ellipses serve a different purpose in writing than four-point ellipses.
9. Question people with letters after their name, unless they are actively saving your life. After you are stable, go ahead and question them, too.
10. The Academe is one microcosm within this entire universe. I survived it. And now plan to live my life to its fullest, pocketing the knowledge I gained in grad school, but knowing that is not what defines me. Unfortunately, it took nearly four years of schooling (eight, if you count undergraduate work) to gain that invaluable piece of knowledge.

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