What a Difference a Half a Decade Makes

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | 3 Comment(s)

I remember back to my first year in graduate school.  It's the one year of grad school that i can kind of say i enjoyed.  I have this vivid memory of walking down our 6th floor hallway, whistling.  Literally whistling.  I can't remember what song, and let's face it, once you get to a "whistling" level of contentment, the tune matters very little.  My eyes were cooked egg white back then -- no red.  And  this memory of a care-free me, forging forward on my career path is striking in its juxtaposition to the now.

My right eye is red now.  The lid above is puffy and it recedes when the stress level recedes, which is rarely -- usually during vacations.  yesterday i woke up, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat down to do some morning work at home.  I then threw up in the toilet.  I am ashamed to say that my first thought, post-hurl, was not, "crap, I'm sick!" but rather "crap, now i'm going to have to buy coffee on the way to work."  yes, thats sick.

At work i felt worse and got permission to skip the class i TA in order to reserve energy for the night meeting for the same class, and then running a 2-hour TA session for said class until 8pm.  After the review session i limped home, got to watch some new tv with the mmf and then it was bedtime.

The overall impression this day left was a big ol skid-mark.  the underpants kind. A skid because mostly the day was a blur of nausea and information exchange; and a mark because the whole thing stunk like shit.

And that was a pretty normal day for me.  I have no real complaints about the day.  i was not treated unfairly in any way.  it was a day.

But i didn't whistle.  Not even close.  I can safely say that the idea of whistling didn't even cross my mind.  i have, at a minimum, been changed by this graduate school experience.  And that change, unfortunately, has taken the whistle out of my work.


  1. If it helps at all, you're not alone in this feeling. It gets soul-crushing for a while. But when it's all done you'll be so glad you did it (and you'll physically recoil at the mere idea of ever having to go back and do any part of it again).
    Sounds like a tough TA assignment. I try, at least, to tread lightly on my TAs.

  2. hey johnny. love the new handle. the ta assignment is totally great (linda). just a particularly long day. the bigger picture has been more difficult.

  3. It's an old handle that Google somehow dredged up during the verification process. My browser doesn't like your blog's script at all.