June 30, 2010

Time is cruel

Graduate students at my university are given student IDs that look exactly like the undergrads' student IDs. And, like the undergrad student IDs, they expire in four years. I just had to get mine replaced. And let me tell you, it's a long walk down to the basement office, as you contemplate that four years have passed and you're still "in school"... that after 8 years of owning a college student ID (four years undergrad, four years grad) you need to get it renewed for additional years.

And then you get asked The Question: "Well, when are you graduating?"

I tried to convince her that it would be another four years, to see if I could keep my "student" privileges in the event that I bum around here after my eventual graduation. And because hopefully four years would be enough of a buffer that if I don't graduate in six years, I won't have to take another long, depressing walk to the student ID office, thinking about how I'm almost thirty and renewing my student ID.

"Um, I guess I'm supposed to finish my dissertation in a couple of years, but it's going really slow because I just started, and -- Have you ever seen this website called Hulu? Yeah, at this rate, it's going to be forever, so you should probably give me a four year extension."

She frowned and told me she would extend it for two years. "Same picture?" I looked at the small photo of my 22-year-old self, taken in my first week as a graduate student. I had bright red hair, and an eager smile. "Yeah, same picture."

Nobody looks close anyway.


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