September 23, 2009

The academic year begins

The fall quarter has started, and everyone is back. My classmates are back from their summer travels -- working in the TA offices, eating lunch in the lounge, complaining in the computer lab. The professors are back at the department (and back to scowling and closing their doors when grad students get chatty in the hallway). Our work study undergrads are back, so the grad student mail got sorted for the first time since June.

It's the beginning of my fourth year, and I feel like one of the "advanced" students for the first time. I am finished with classes, my masters thesis, and comps. When the first years ask what I study, I can confidently summarize my dissertation proposal. After a lot of angst and tears and confusion, I finally have things figured out. I have my shit together. It's like being a senior in high school, except that I'm not graduating any time soon.

My office-mate from last year has dropped out of the program. I haven't talked to him directly, but his friend suggested that Something Happened. I hope he is okay -- he talked me through a lot of tough days last year. My new office-mate is one of the second years, and I think we will get along well. I have been encouraging her to decorate her space, and today she brought a few stickers and pins for her bulletin board.

I don't start teaching until next week, and lecture is canceled for Monday because it's a Jewish holiday... so I'm easing into my teaching schedule and getting my own work done. Oh and my professor was serious about taking us out to eat -- we've already scheduled the first off campus "meeting."


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