2.18.2011

we like lists: top five reasons i hate grad school

A new list thread is coming soon, but first I must use my poor, neglected blog to complain about why my blog is neglected. This is not a participatory list - it's an extended whine.

I am very glad I am on the road to making a career change, and very hopeful about my prospective new career. I'm super excited about becoming a librarian. So far, my library-specific courses have been extremely interesting; the one I'm taking now - Intro to Reference - I love.

But being in school sucks. Here's why.

1. I hate always having to read for school rather than what I choose to read. Even if I have a bit of time in which I could be reading something for myself, I don't - the need to read for school is too pressing, plus my mind is so crowded and over-stimulated, pleasure reading isn't even pleasurable.

2. I hate not having adequate time to blog. Other than papers for school, blogging is my only writing outlet. I need it. I don't have enough of it.

3. My schedule is too tight. There is no give. Yesterday I had a hair salon appointment and a couple of errands to run, and that put me behind schedule. Without a partner who does most of the housework and errands, I don't know what I would do.

4. I resent having to take required courses that are either redundant or well outside my career goals.

Everyone at the iSchool - whether library, archives, knowledge management, whatever - takes four general courses on "information and society". There is widespread agreement among students that these could be condensed into two courses or even one. Contemplating the big picture is useful, but there are easily a dozen library-specific electives that I'd rather take, that would be much more useful to me, and that I won't be able to fit in.

This term I am slogging through the dreaded "Research Methods," which is intended for students going on for their doctorates, yet required for all. The school pushes students to get their PhDs; I've heard that's how funding is determined, and although I don't know if that's true, it would explain a lot.

Instead of this suffering through this class that I'll never use, I could be learning more about becoming a librarian.

5. I hate having to be so disciplined. I have to say no to so many things I'd like to do. I have to go to sleep at a certain time to be alert enough for morning classes. I have to swim on the only days I have available, and if I don't, there goes my exercise for the week. And so on. I've always been a disciplined person - writing while having a series of day-jobs demands it, and my health issues add to that need. But working, going to school, being an activist, and taking care of myself, which includes getting some exercise and having some down time, requires more discipline than I really want to bother with.

* * * *

By now I recognize the pattern: I write posts like this in November and March. This is a bit early, but blame that on Research Methods.

I keep Impudent Strumpet's comment on the wall next to my desk:
It's March. You're in university. Of course you're a mess. You're going to be a mess for a month and then emerge, blinking and befuddled, somehow having completed all your coursework, into a beautiful spring where you'll watch baseball and blog as much as you want.

My term ends a week later this year, so I'll be watching baseball while writing papers and studying for a final. But here's to April, it can't come fast enough.

2 comments:

Amy said...

Hang in there. I could have made a similar list called Why I Hated Law School, though there would be a few different things on that list---like, my professors and most of the students are arrogant jerks! But somehow I managed to get through it, and I know you will also. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it gets closer all the time.

laura k said...

Thank you, Amy. I will. Every day is another day closer.

I'm lucky in that respect - most of my classmates and my profs are terrific.

But I count the days, the weeks, the courses. I continue to slog through.