Wednesday, May 07, 2008

RBOC: So I Really Think I'm Fabulous Even If I Have a Flaw or Two

  • What is the benefit of teaching two classes in a semester with two course releases, when throughout the semester the two course releases really took just as much time as teaching/grading for two courses would have taken? Finals grading. Dude, for the first time in recorded history (i.e., ever) I have completed the grading for the semester on the day of my last final. That also probably has to do with not teaching comp. In fact, I know it does because typically I procrastinate about the comp grading until the night before final grades are due, for it makes me upset and unhappy. But this semester? The grades are DONE. Hurrah!
  • Also hurrah because, as is typical, the final allows my students to redeem themselves and to show me that they indeed did learn a heck of a lot more than I realized that they learned.
  • And it makes me realize that usually my read on what they enjoy and what they don't is usually totally wrong. What's up with the conservative students totally loving the queer British writers? And with my theory students loving, understanding, and feeling super-influenced by the excerpt from Patricia Waugh that I had them read? Who knew that this was what was going on behind those expressions of consternation?
  • And I spoke with the friend that I mentioned in the last bullets.... after some thought today I realized that I was picking a fight with him on purpose (if unconsciously). Not that I was wrong for what I was picking the fight about, but, well, when I get stressed, my impulse is to do some collateral damage in another area of my life. What's lovely about the person on whom I unleashed my fury is that although I hurt his feelings he totally forgives me (a) and also apparently recognizes that this is a pattern of mine while at the same time knowing that the substance of the fight-picking was not off base (b). I feel as if this person is a rare gem indeed for that combination of responses.
  • Talked with BES today about grad school plans. Poof!
  • Hmmm. What else? Have just been talking to BFF on the phone. No big news to report there, although things move along with the selling of her house.

Ok, maybe more later. But yeah, that's all for now.


Dr. Curmudgeon said...

I am so very jealous that you're done with grading. I'm so green with envy, I've moved into some shade of green that only certain animals can see. I don't know what those animals are or why they'd need to see that shade of green. But now they can confirm I am, indeed, envious.

Also, hello, since I hadn't commented in a bit.

Sisyphus said...

You might need the comments to go poof too... that said:

what about 19th C American? It's my understanding that it isn't quite as brutally competitive. Also, doing race/ethnic studies or postcolonial lit would be stronger on the job market, _provided_ it was _really_ thorough ---- those of us who've tried the "I have a poco chapter" or "sure I can throw one author of color into the diss" are not doing well at _all_ on the market, and haven't been. OTOH, our Af-Am ist this year had 7 offers, first time out, and a comparative race studies person (who's white) got a "university of" job. The rest of us, bupkis.

I'd suggest she look out here in CA (we got people who do her thing) but I'm worried about the CA budget imploding over the next few years, as our dept has some shitty funding issues right now ---- how will they get resolved if they hack another 10% off the budget two years down the line? ---- I'm thinking private unis with deep pockets are the way to go. Of course, those'll be tough to get in, but she might have a _better_ chance at some ivy where they don't care so much as at a midlevel public dept desperate to build some cred by taking in more Smith and Vassar-ites?

negativecapability said...

I can give some reasons why your student might want to apply to both my current institution and the one I will be working at next year (which is less competitive for the Ph.D. and begins with an MA fully funded by teaching fellowships).

If you could give me more details about what her interests are and what the prospective samples are, I can also give better advice about how to tailor the writing samples.

Regarding the "non-fancypants" status, my current program regularly accepts people from places no one has heard of (I say this because that includes me!). It's all about the originally and interesting-ness of the writing sample for them and not about the pedigree.

Once a student knows the reality (as much as they can) and still commits, I'm always on the side of helping them out, esp. since I also didn't come from a likely going-to-grad-school place. So, e-mail me and I'll send you the longer reply. I'm also happy to take questions from the student directly if they want a recent grad. student perspective.

Dr. Crazy said...

Send me an email at and I'll give you the total 411. I'm not sure what your email via blog is, or I'd email you. But thank you SO MUCH for the help! I really appreciate it!

(By the way, others who might not want to reveal their locals can also email me and I would appreciate that as well.)

Jenny Davidson said...

(Sorry, left comment on wrong post! Delete when read, e-mail me off-blog from CU directory for further thoughts!)

Ashli said...

LSU isn't in a cool, urban area, but it might be a good safety. The GTA pay is really good compared to most places, there's a WGS grad minor with great professors (a lot of whom come from the English department), and I know from personal experience that they let in students from no-name universities with good (but not 4.0) GPAs. Oh, and it's close to New Orleans, which is fun for when you're craving a night out away from frat boys. Feel free to email me if you'd like any more information!

Dr. Crazy said...

Thanks for the advice everybody! I've been swamped with end of the semester stuff among other things, but I've taken all advice into account (and was happy to note that you'd all thought of some places I hadn't and that some of the places that I'd suggested also came up). I love my readers! You're all so helpful!