Friday, September 2, 2011

A Grad School Perspective

A short list of observations from Grad School

Stepping back onto a campus and in the class room wasn't exactly as daunting as I thought it would be. Having worked in the "real world" for four years, I came back to school with some perspective and drive that I didn't have before. 

I am not saying the traditional four year BA that I did before was useless; it provided me with some pretty important life experiences that shaped who I was as a person. Yep, mom and dad, that private institution you sent me to provided me with a similar growth arc to that of an obese person going through fat camp. Sorry 'bout that!

Professionally, though - eh, let's just say a BA in History with a minor in Anthro doesn't get you very far unless you're willing to wash the dirty unmentionables of an archaeologist with an Indiana Jones complex in Beliz for a semester.

So, once I figured out that I wanted to be a college professor that could do whatever the fuck I wanted as well, I set out this week to blaze a trail toward a thesis and a Masters (maybe eventually a PhD?). Upon arriving on campus though, I already started to get a sense that I was outside the "bubble" of the traditional college experience. Several things had just...changed since I last set foot as a student. Maybe changed is the wrong word - I think perhaps I have just acquired a more adult  perspective on campus life.

(1)  Undergraduates are Fucking Morons 

Ok, this one seems pretty self-evident, but you really don't get a sense of how much of a dumbass you must have been until you go back and are forced into co-existence with these mouth breathers. Simple questions like, "where can I find the registrar?" are met with blank stares; one asshole actually sent me to the student-ID center. Undergraduates, especially freshman, are in this state of being where it's just deer-in-headlights survival mode 24/7, with critical thinking taking a back seat to more basic urges like, "can I fuck that tree?"

Looks clean to me

(2) You Can Hold Meaningful Conversations With Women!

Being the distinguished 26 year old married graduate student, I am about as safe as they come. Shit, after the first week back in college, women talk to me like a surrogate father (BTW, I don't know what a sanitary napkin is, much less have one on me. Stop crying and leave me alone.) I guess I never noticed between the boners in college, but young ladies on campus often treat encounters with manchildren as necessary evils. You can walk by about thirty of these meetings on the way to and from your car, and usually it revolves around the girl pretending to be on the phone or receiving a call while the awkward male asks her meaningful questions like:

"Where are you going?"
"Are you going the ______ (insert frat) party?"
"Where are you going?"

Though I could wax lyrical about how sad the state of the young male's social lexicon is, what is even sadder is the noticeable look on the girls face. You can clearly see through her forced smile that there is a little voice on her shoulder that pops up when every awkward male undergraduate approaches her:

So you can imagine their reaction when I state my thesis and life goals while brandishing my wedding ring. 

Ladies, my eyes are up here...

(3) Is That Vomit, or Urine?

No really, someone shit on or around the campus. Who knows if this will get better after the first week, but literally everywhere smells like a moldy cheese room swathed in asparagus pee and hint of Jack Daniels.

Fuck it, I am sure it's Ke$ha's fault.

(4) I'm Not Texting, I'm Writing Notes on my iPhone!

This one is actually pretty funny, as I have seen three people wipe the fuck out, and one walk into a poll because they were too busy walking to class and messing with their smartphone. Smartphones these days kind of fill the niche that those helmet-sized shades that the ladies from my original college go-around used to wear to appear unapproachable or to hide the lazy eye they got at that frat party; basically, it's now used as a universal indicator that you are too busy/cool to messed with.

Hold on one second, I didn't know you could get points on foursquare for checking into the campus library!

(5) I Get it, You're Different

I really started to feel old when undergraduates and their sense of fashion started to bug me. I mean I understand that for some individuals, asserting one's uniqueness via fashion is easier than meeting  other people; in the animal kingdom, often the flashiest of the species gets to mate. But seriously, if you are going to walk around with thirty piercings, a hole in your nose, and tribal tats that seem to spell out the word "extreme," I probably won't be alone in judging the hell out of you.

Fucking hipsters...

Really though, good luck. For your efforts to avoid social interaction - yet stand out in a crowd - you have been preselected for the following career field:

(A) Indie Roady
(B) Bartender
(C) Alternative Barrista

I like my mocha frothy , bitch.

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