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For a Monday, it was a pretty domestic day.  My reading group was cancelled, so I only had my cognitive neuroscience class this morning – yay!  I’d been hoping for a day off, of sort.  Not feeling much like updating though, so I think I’ll list up:

  • went out to lunch!  Mm, Dos.
  • got all the dishes done!
  • made potato salad, and chocolate syrup
  • started laundry
  • got almost all my rough drafts graded
  • read the penultimate paper for my cogneuro essay

Oh yeah, one other good thing today – I got another fellowship thing!  These funding guys are always really mysterious, so I’m not quite sure where it all comes from.  At any rate, I got a nice email telling me I’d been awarded some kind of research grant, and that they’re giving me 1500 bucks to spend on things “vital to the research” I’m doing, and I have to report back about what I’ve been doing to the powers that be next spring.  I’m not quite sure what my research is, yet, or what I’ll need 1500 bucks for, but it’s pretty neat to know I have a personal little expense account at the department next year.   I’m +2 for next year!


Boy, I’ve had one of those fantastically productive days.  I blame this all on Lewis having made grapefruit juice this morning.  Mmm, grapefruit juice.

Anyway, I’m really not feeling like I can excrete some sort of erudite epistle tonight, so instead let me yammer on about the few things I really did do.  First of all, I went to Quechua class, wherein I sang songs, appropriately replied to prompts, and forged an inane dialogue with my convo partner, Michiq.  It goes like this:

Me:  Allillanchu kashanki?
Michiq:  Allillanmi.  Imata yachashanki?
Me:  Noqa qheswata yachashani.
Michiq:  Kusa!   Maypin Mariya kashan?
Me:  Pay wasipi kashan.
Michiq:  Pay imaynan kashan?
Me:  Pay allinmi kashan.
Michiq:  Kusa!  Tupananchiskama!
Me:  Tupananchiskama!

Boy, that was pretty entertaining, no?  Oh… no?  Oh well!  I’ve got to perform it next week, and it is not to be missed.  What if in the intervening time I decide *not* to study Quechua (manan qheswata yachashani!), or Maria becomes unwell?  (*cliffhanging organ music*)

Today got started on a great note.  First thing this morning, I heard back from my undergrad thesis advisor, Todd!  Todd is great.  And he was ready and able to send out a duplicate copy of his letter of rec from last year, and thus complete the letter-of-rec-trifecta I needed to get my fellowship application in.  I can’t believe I went from zero to finished on the fellowship application in a mere two days.  I’m going to procrastinate this long every year.  Or not.

Well, maybe finishing that application was really all I did today, but it felt momentus!  Oh wait, I did go to the Co-op and buy ice cream and other comestables.  That’s pretty zang.  I’m really looking forward to some sort of grapefruit blueberry nectarine and who knows what kind of smoothie / juice experience tomorrow morning.  Every day should be as good as this day.

Did I mention I watched two hours of Law & Order, and had a quesadilla?  Well I did!

Playing Along

I love the way my room smells.  Sitting in here gives me comfort.  It feels so real, so present, so manageable.  Timeless, in a way.  Regardless of the day I’ve had, this is the room I come home to, this is the bed I sleep in, and this is the last thing I see before I sleep, and the first thing when I wake.

It is very difficult to reconcile this immediate reality with the multitude of possibilities of my future lives.  Tonight I made the mistake of realizing the internal fellowship application is due in two weeks, and that I might need letters of recommendation and all that.  There was a comfort in thinking (though falsely) that getting in to graduate school was the last proving of myself that needed to be done.  Instead, here I am, faced with again trying to convince someone that I’m a worthwhile student who ought to be given something now for the promise of belated glory upon our fine institution.

Sadly, fellowship applications are really a minor worry on the road of an academic career.  I read the suggestions and guidelines for applying for academic positions in my field tonight and the journey sounds long and difficult, but in some small way, also enticing.   Applying for academic jobs is such a long way from my comfortable bed in my calm home that it’s impossible to think some day that might be what I’m striving for.  There’s not a lot between being a first year graduate student and being a last year graduate student hoping for a job.  That job might take years to get, might involve several successive one-year appointments in a variety of schools, and may in the end be a frustrating and unfulfilling exercise in realizing academia is not where you want to spend your life.

At some point you must learn to believe in yourself and your work to such a degree that you could spend years shopping yourself and your doctoral project around and get nothing but rejection after rejection.  I hope I reach that point.  I have a hard enough time writing a statement of purpose and pretending that I’m a worthwhile graduate student.  I know a few things about myself:  I’m an enthusiastic learner, a good student, and a dedicated teacher.  Truly, teaching is what gets me all fired up.  I enjoy reserach, but the vision of my future is not the ego-wielding research jewel in some school’s cap, but a beloved professor who loves and understands the subject and inspires her students, and who gets to do research on things she loves on the side.  I’m not sure this is the right focus for someone who hopes to make a go of academia.  I’m seriously considering what other educational opportunities might be out there for me to participate in.  Could I teach at a community college?  A prep school?  A high school?   Who knows.

I do know that I should really get this fellowship application done, though like all applications (except this UCD one) I know in my bones it’s all for naught.  I just do not come off well on paper, and I’m sure it’s at least partly a function of me feeling that way going into it.  This is a thing I do not know how to fix.  Tonight, I’m going to take refuge in my bed.  And tomorrow I’ll wake up ready for my last holiday party, on my last free weekend before the start of a very busy quarter.  Good night.