Monthly Archives: September 2011

Working on my control issues

I am resigned at this point to pretty much knowing Jack about anything that’s going to happen in my academic career more than 24 hours prior to it rearing its head and making demands of me. (Maybe 48 hours. If I’m lucky.)

Next week is orientation. Wednesday I take the theory diagnostic exam. Thursday I have advising (I guess they can’t do any of that until they discover whether I’m a remedial-theory-needing moron, but it’s frustrating anyhow) and hopefully find out exactly what the hell I’ll be taking in my coursework. Friday I register.  Monday I have…another orientation? Not sure, I think that one’s about How To Use the Library, something I should probably show up for.  That’s pretty much all I know.

My major teacher and department head is retiring at the end of this year. I know that too.  Which means his level of commitment to the bureaucracy will likely be at a much lower ebb than ever before, and rumor has it he’s never been much of a one for the bureaucracy anyway.  It also means that I won’t be able to do jack in terms of solid thesis prep until the year following at the earliest, because the person who will need to sign off on it for me won’t actually be hired till next year.  I sort of know what I want to do, but I won’t be able to do anything substantive, which is also frustrating.

I hate not knowing. And I am keeping deep within myself the frustrated cry of “I’m not some 22 year old snowflake floating from class to class on a trust fund, I’m a GROWNUP, dammit, with a life and a real career and more publications than a lot of your faculty and don’t you have a fricking clue what I’ve given up to be here, can’t you at least get your shit together and treat me like a grownup?”

Except here, I guess.  The frustrated cry has to come out somewhere; better on a blog than in the second floor lounge.


Gonna kill him

So today we’re going through my late in-laws’ home, trying to get things cleared out so we can sell. I’m going back and forth between dining room and kitchen rinsing off the lead crystal to dry and pack well.

My husband decides this is the right time to empty the bottle of ammonia into the sink, turn the water on high, and leave the room without saying anything. About 3 seconds later I briskly head back to the sink to rinse something else and inhale deeply.

He can’t understand why I’m pissed, nor why his aggrieved, “Geez, I said I was sorry, didn’t I?” isn’t cutting it.

Fortunately Poison Control informs me that if I didn’t go into a huge asthma attack in the first 10 minutes or so, I’ll probably be fine.  And that the burning sensation in the back of my throat will go away in the next couple of days.

This is why I make my own household cleaners and have no bleach, ammonia, or other such nasties in my house.

Grr….I’d forgotten about academic bureaucracy

So classes start in less than two weeks.  I get that email with letters attached, both letters dated July 2011. Still nothing whatsoever about registration, courses, requirements, advising, and so forth.

I am fairly type A and like to know what’s going on. I don’t need to be in control of it, I just want to know. So I spend half an hour on the internet trying to figure out how and when new graduate student registration takes place. I click from thing to thing, not finding what I’m looking for. Like “click here for your Fall registration appointment” and I get taken to a page for returning students who registered last May, and I have to scroll all over the place to even find that.

So I decide, okay, maybe I suck it up and make a phone call, which I hate. I call the Registrar’s office, because I figure, hey, registration question, they’d be the ones, right?

I wiggle through the menus and at last get a live person. I explain, “Hi, my name is Newdoctoral Snowflake, entering as a music student. I am trying to find information regarding  when and how new student registration takes place.  Can you help me?”

“You’re a music student?” “Yes.” “You need to talk to the School of Music. Let me transfer you over to them.”

“Hello, School of Music.”  “Hi, my name is Newdoctoral Snowflake, entering as a music student. I am trying to find information regarding  when and how new student registration takes place.  Can you help me?”

“You’re a graduate student?” “Yes.” “You need to talk to the School of Graduate Studies. Let me transfer you over.”

*BEEP* ” You have reached the office of Gradstudies Inchargechick. I am away from my desk, but please leave a message…”


This sucks.


Here’s a Mission: Educate My Kids

I knew when I walked into Parent Night that it was going to be a long evening.

It’s a peculiarity of this particular school that they absolutely won’t open the doors early for anything.  And when I say “early,” I mean at a quarter to seven when we arrived the doors were still locked.  The same thing happened on the first day of school; everything was battened down tight until exactly the moment the Powers That Be decided to admit the students. I can’t decide if this is a control thing or a disorganization thing, but I suspect it may be both.

We walked in, and there were handouts. A schedule for the evening, with three things on it. And a sheet of paper with a “Mission Statment” and a “Vision Statment.”

When I posted it on Facebook, several friends came back with fairly pertinent commentary (e.g. “‎3 wds: just kill me” and “Kind of like the Eulogy that begins, ‘Uncle Joe was born in…'”), but my favorite was:

“Here’s a mission: educate my kids. And for a vision, how about a vision of educated kids?”


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