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Posts tagged fretting

Oh, vertigo.

It’s been a lovely weekend, though also a bit of a trial since it was our first school weekend in months.

Some notable accomplishments – we went on a hot air balloon ride over Davis, which I firmly avoided thinking about in advance.  Got a little nervous watching them set up the balloon, but once we were in the air, it was really rather enjoyable.  We got some mid-flight photos I’ll be sure to put up to prove that I did indeed voluntarily get into some kind of crazy flying apparatus.  One of the nicest things about the whole adventure was actually getting to the Yolo County Airport before dawn.  I’ve never seen a Davis sunrise before, and it was quite a beautiful sight from the fields outside of town.  Also, Davis is adorable from the air.  We had a wonderful view of the big ranch houses on the north west side of town, with all their walnut orchards and gardens and such.  Also got a great areal view of the corn maze, and the Silveyville Christmas Tree Farm!   Both things I think we’ll need to pay a terrestrial visit to this fall.

Had two birthday parties this weekend, which were about as different as can be.  Went to Ariel’s 23rd, which involved lots of grad students and beer.  Also jello shots (which were frozen… not at all enticing) and beer and such.  We didn’t stay long, since we had been up since 5 that morning, but it was a very nice little shindig.  Tonight we went to Lewis’ aunt’s 60th birthday party at a fancy-pants restaurant in Sac.  Really delicious food, 3 course meal and nice wine and the works.  It’s good to have family in town supplementing the hot dog diet we’ve been living on since Lewis’ birthday party.

Other than that, I spent the rest of the weekend doing syntax reading.   It’s some thick stuff, but not entirely unenjoyable.  I really like the professor teaching this class, so I’m feeling confident that it’s all going to be interesting stuff when we get to it in class.  My thoughts are sadly still in the feeling of vertigo I’m getting looking at my future.  These new students are really throwing me for a loop even though I’ve never really met them.  The second year is not exactly easy.  Last year we were all fresh-faced and more busy making good impressions than worrying about the near future.  This year we have to have our first QP done, and could conceivably have our master’s degrees by summer.  I don’t think I actually will, since I’m not taking one of the classes I could (should?) be right now… but I’m also not worried about it, since getting my masters this year or next year doesn’t really make a difference in the overall trajectory.  What I am worried about is this damn QP and my aggravating advisor and lab situation.  But I’m going to do my best not to get too worked up about all this before I have the meeting which is theoretically happening this week.

Well, here we come, first full week.

And we’re back.

Day one of classes, finished.

My night closes with me feeling more confused, lost, and hesitant than I have been in a while.  This is probably okay.  Perhaps even expected, since you can’t really go through your PhD without having at least one period of aimless flailing and panicking about not having a future.

Despite this, my day was pretty good.  We had our first 103A class this morning, and I think it might be a TA’s dream.  A few of the kids I’ve taught in Lin 1 are in this class, and if they’re the measure by which I judge the overall character of the class, we’re in good shape.  The only students of mine that are signed up all got As in Lin 1, and I consider all very bright, promising linguists.  The professor teaching it is very laid back, and section attendance is not mandatory, so I’m hoping it all adds up to a stress free quarter at least in the TA domain.

I also had the first of my real classes today – just syntax.  We’re doing a really interesting topic in this class, and it’s being taught by one of my favorite professors.  I’ve had classes from him before, and he has the singular ability to teach very complex theory so carefully that it all ends up seeming intuitive and logical and very much digestible.  We’re definitely going to need that to get through this class, because we’re learning very much non-standard syntax, and it’s a system not a single one of us has worked with before.  But so far, it sounds really intriguing and I’m looking forward to getting into it.

We had a great hang-out of ling folks afterwards.  We chilled in our office for a while, and unlocked our secret door (it leads to the library next door, but you can’t actually get through it because it’s mostly blocked by a bookcase.   Got some posters hung up as well, and planned a cleaning day for us all to come in and tidy the room up.  It should be worth the work, because right now it’s covered in cobwebs and dust and uncollected homeworks stuffed in bookshelves from classes taught 5 or 10 years ago.  I love my classmates, and especially my office mates!  We all met later this evening for drinks at Sudwerk, and got to talk about how things are going so far and the new kids and such.

This talk is really what has left me feeling so conflicted.  Some fears of mine are feeling a bit confirmed with regards to the professor I was thinking about picking for my advisor, and the lab I’m trying to work in.  I’m just not sure this is going to be a good direction for me, and I need to do a lot of hard thinking about whether it’s one of those things worth fighting for, or one of those things that it’s time to walk away from.  But on the other hand, our hang out tonight also reminded me how much I love the people here, and how supportive and pleasant everyone is.  Even if my advisor issues are making life here frustrating, there are lots of people to help get me through it.

That is, if I survive the hot air balloon ride that’s knocking at my door at 5:45 tomorrow morning!

Garage Rocked

Today sort of feels like the last day of freedom.  Tomorrow I’ve got a day-long TA orientation, followed Tuesday by a day of more orientation, then a day off, and then my first day of class!  Egad!  So I woke up this morning in a bit of a panic.  Sometimes I just burst awake in the wee hours, really feeling like I need more sleep, but completely unable to justify staying in bed any longer.  So instead I snuck off to the study and spent a few hours getting some pretty non-essential computer work done before Lewis got up and very sweetly made us breakfast.

I was a bit afraid to crash like yesterday, so instead I jumped right in to organizing the garage.  I’ve been wanting to set up a work area for myself out of the old kitchen prep table, and yesterday we got the last component – a bar stool so I can sit at my new “desk”.  Anyway, it was just about the last thing on my list to do before school starts, and today was finally the day for it.  I must say, after Lewis got his side together and we got all the various remaining furniture items assembled and put away the rest of the clutter.. it looks way better in there than I anticipated!  I’m really excited to have an excuse to hang out in there.  As an added bonus, I finally learned how to put together and use our socket wrench!  I’m never going anywhere without that thing again.  I should build some kind of holster.  Anyway, here’s our final product pictures of Lewis’ space and my space:

Laur side, with table and storage!

Laur side, with table and storage!

Lewis side, complete with desk and chair!

Lewis side, complete with desk and chair!

Still feeling a bit like I was being hounded by the Ghost of School Work Future, I tidied most of the rest of the house.  There are a few straggling boxes to be put away in the guest room, and our study seems to be in a perpetual state of near-disaster, but otherwise I got everything squared away.  When I think about these sort of chores I can just feel all my muscles tense up, but I need to remind myself that school is only so many hours in a day, and if Lewis and I could manage to have a fairly tidy and satisfying existence while both working 40 hours a week, graduate school is not going to destroy everything I love about life.

Now I just have to master this getting-up-before-8 thing again.  In a perfect world, I’d even get up so early I had time to go to the gym before class… phew.  Baby steps.  I only have to be on campus at 8:50 tomorrow.  The other thing I need to figure out is how not to carry stress in my teeth.  When I woke up this morning I felt like I needed a crowbar to unhinge my jaw, and at lunch today my teeth were so sensitive I could barely eat.  Everything was fine by dinner, which is great, but I definitely need to figure out some kind of strategy.  Arg.