I have come to realize that regular people really have no idea what the fuck grad students do. I'm going to do all grad students a favour and tell you all because there seems to be some mistaken idea that we just take courses and assist with teaching here and there and so we have all this free time to travel and fuck around. Wrong. So very wrong. Unfortunately I need to finish reading an article and half a novel (for the lit class I TA) tonight so I can't go into detail but I'll at least share what I did today. BTW, I should note that I have a particularly understanding partner who almost remembers my schedule for each day and recognizes my hell. Those of you who don't will have to send their partners a link to this blog as I edumacate y'all.
- checked my email to see if my paper got into this conference that I really need to go to or people on future hiring committees are going to wonder why I didn't
- there was no such email but I did respond to an email to say that I would be a reviewer of a manuscript for a journal even though I totally do not have time for this but need the experience and it will look good on my vitae (aka CV aka resume for academics)
- then I went to campus and held my 2-hour office hours which is when undergrads in the class I teach are welcome to drop in to ask questions, get help or in this case review a draft of a paper
- this was followed by a 2-hour lecture where we watched a film based on the novel the class just read (there are 5 novels, which means I have to have read them all before the students do)
- 2 hours is precious so I worked on reading the next novel while watching the film
- after lecture was our 1 hour weekly TA meeting where the 3 teaching assistants meet with the prof to discuss what we plan to teach in discussion section friday (which we run independently, 50 students to each TA). We also talked about deadlines for grading their 50 midterm papers due in a couple weeks
- took a bus home, went to a 75 minute yoga class, ate dinner, and now I have to read an article that is on my exam reading list and finish that novel before bed.
So that is a detailed day in the life of a grad student. Note, there is no room for much media consumption on this schedule. Sometimes I turn on the TV to catch the evening news while I cook dinner and eat, but after that, no TV.
Tomorrow I have no obligations on campus so I meet with friends at a coffee shop to read and take notes for our general exams. Last week we scoffed at the grad students at the next table complaining about having to read a book a day. Pssssht. We need to read MORE THAN a book a day to get through our reading lists which are comprised of about 25-30 readings per list (4 lists on 4 different topics so about 120 readings). List is a mix of journal articles (20 pages) and full books. Tomorrow I'm hoping to knock out two books on my list.
Next time I'll talk more about these gang initiations/hazings, I mean general PhD exams.