Month: November 2008

Do You Smell That?

That is the smell of the end of the semester approaching. It smells of pie and cinnamon and pleasure reading. With Thanksgiving rolling around the corner, I’m barely thinking about turkey and leaves changing and of course Black Friday. Instead, I have given in to the twenty-four hour Christmas radio stations and have let the Christmas cheer take over.

There are a few concerns, however, that I have about this. First of all, it’s not even Thanksgiving and here I am singing to my heart’s content, “The Christmas Song” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Second, I’m sooooo not focused on anything but my list of Christmas Break reading, my trip to the AWP conference in February, buying new sweaters, and of course the list of people I need to shop for, for Christmas. I am of course not thinking, at all, about any of my work and I am definitely not worrying about submitting grades for my students.

Since I do not want to be accountable for my lack of focus, I’m thinking I want to pin this one on the media and retailers. I feel like if I wasn’t being bombarded by Christmas music and Christmas lights (which my roommate has already put up and turned on) I could focus on the tasks at hand. The thing is when I hear “Jingle Bell Rock” I can’t help but sing (but honestly who can?).   I mean think about, if it wasn’t for all those commercials with the holiday bells ringing in the background and every store in every mall having Christmas decorations up, and the city putting up those creepy light up Nutcrackers (you know what I’m talking about?) I could focus on my school work instead of wishing Winter Break was here.

Whatever happened to decorating and preparing for Christmas after Thanksgiving?



Procrastination Makes it Happen

I feel guilt on Saturday. Although, in general, I feel guilty (must be the Catholic upbringing), I experience it even more so on Saturday. Waking up late at 8:30 instead of 6:30 and bumming around until noon, then maybe doing some school work and grading papers is starting to take its toll on me. Not because, suddenly the semester is coming to a close and I realize, “holy shit” I have a lot of crap to do, but because I realize how much more productive I could have been.

Yes, I’ve taken some Saturdays off, maybe too many, and today I’m even going to indulge in dinner and movie with some friends (oh my God I’m so excited to see “Twilight”). Here’s the thing though, by saying “taking a Saturday off” I don’t mean, sleeping until 1 and then nursing a hangover. I mean instead of grading and maybe working on some fiction, it’s only grading half of the “beautifully” written essays and not reading.

What is my problem?

After speaking to some friends about this, they too have what I’m going to call the “grad student guilt.” It comes with the following symptoms.

1) Feeling so overwhelmed, you can’t focus to do anything.

2) Telling everyone and their mother how much crap you should have done, but didn’t.

3) A feeling of disappointment in yourself.

4) Saying you’re going to the library to do work, but getting sucked into Starbucks with your laptop open, not to a word document, but Facebook.

5) A generalized feeling of “it’s time to do work.”

These are just some of the symptoms I’ve noticed in my colleagues. I think this kind of “grad student guilt” can take its form in many other ways. Like renting season 2 of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and vegetating on the couch to finish it, (why is that finishing a TV series makes us feel so accomplished?) or organizing your bookshelf, or scrubbing the bathroom clean, or pulling the stove out and cleaning behind it for the third time this month.  I’m just saying.

Do any of you know what I’m talking about? Please share.

Hi, Hello, Welcome


Since this is the first time we’re meeting, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a former high school teacher (that makes me sound wicked experienced but I only taught briefly, and right out of university). I am currently a graduate student at a local state university. I am obsessed with learning (especially about literature and writing) and because of this I am currently working on a Master’s of Fine Arts in creative writing. I am also a graduate teaching assistant and teach “How to write a paper 101.”

Although, I only taught high school for a seemingly short amount of time, I still have a firey buring passion for teaching. Part of what makes working on my MFA so appealing is that my program allows for me to teach as well. You can expect me to discuss teaching, as well the writing program itself, and any other issues that may be going on with me. Since I am first a writer then a teacher, I’ll probably be spilling out some of the observations that I notice about students, faculty, the university, other graduate students, and myself.

The grad school experience is obviously different from the undergrad experience and I’m excited to exploit the world of even higher education. I especially look forward to showing you all the wild and crazy people I work with on a daily basis; that I absolutely adore and loathe. I’m even more excited to share some of work my with you, as it is the process of being refined. And I hope you’ll help me make my writing even better. Finally I would love for students and teachers/professors/instructors to share experiences and advice.  All of your questions and comments are always welcome.