I’m not as good as I once was/but I was good once/as I ever was…
-Toby Keith, at least I think that's what he said
This week was a little rough around the edges, but I’ve finally come to the realization that I AM a PhD student. And I can tell by this simple fact: I have embraced the sense of fragmented chaos.
I’ve been told by many folks in the field (other students, professors, innocent bystanders) that no one does ALL the reading. But that’s like being told by a police officer that people speed all the time. Sure– you know it’s true. Why would a police officer lie? But that doesn’t mean you can speed past that particular cruiser, does it? But… yeah. You can’t do all the reading. If you’re a PhD student out there reading this, believe it. You WILL NOT get all the reading done in such a way that it sticks with you. I tried, all of last semester and for part of this one, to read every word. It just won’t stick.
So I’ve learned to power read/skim/read like I’m trying to do something specific with the text.
I’ve also started to look at the people around me– particularly professors– at least partly in a sense of “this is how this person can help me get to where I’m going.” That is, of course, how we should view academia, but there are always some who see this as some sort of contest, as if one could WIN grad school. *sigh* More about “those people” when I rant tomorrow.
But the big moment… the sort of epiphany, as it were… came when I realized that in spite of the fact that there’s too much reading, I’m poor, I’m half-way through forming a committee and sometimes I’m a little lost, I feel good about things. I feel like important concepts are clicking, and I feel like the questions I pain myself with are literal gaps in the field that I can work to fill in some way.
It’s exciting. Lil Philly can has scholar.
So… that was my week. It was also a big ball o’ stress, and if anyone out there would like to send money, I’m taking charity.