Let’s just talk about the days where stuff actually happened, yeah? Just assume that any time not specified was spent in agony and anguish about writing papers and being an adult. Gross.
Monday November 28: I fought a girl in the level nine French section of the library for a book on Mallarmé for my Decadence paper. I won because I’m a post-grad and thus everything I do is more important. Just kidding, I convinced her that she didn’t actually need it and that another book would work better for her.
Anyway, I came home with about 8 text from the library plus about four more from my own bookshelves. I buckled down to read, hoping to narrow and solidify paper topics. The fact that this is coming at the beginning of the post should clue you in to the fact that it was NOT that easy. For reference, I set my final due date for Sunday December 11.
Tuesday November 29: Excited about my potential topic, I stayed after our last class and waited around until office hours for help narrowing my thesis. As it turns out, my professor basically told me that I don’t have the necessary skill set for writing the paper I wanted to write. I was PISSED and embarrassed and hurt, so I came home and had a mini tantrum and my darling Flora cheered me up with some ‘peacocking’ in her onesie.
I pushed down all thoughts about DecMod and resolved not to work on it until Fantasy had sorted itself out a bit more. The day as a whole was salvaged by the fact that it was Meg’s first performance at Scratch Night! Accepted to do a sit-down comedy routine, Meg was brave enough to get up on stage and give us a wonderful 15 minutes.
Here are some pictures of Scratch Night. Meg’s friend presented the first act of a play she’d written which was also fantastic.
After Scratch Night, however, no events were on the horizon except the finals due date looming larger and larger.A few small things broke the monotony and despair though.
Wednesday November 31: Nothing says YES, I’M CONFIDENT AND CAPABLE OF FACING FINALS HEAD ON like having a clear vision of what’s in front of you, right?
Well, Artistically blurry so you too can feel my pain, please enjoy the fact that my thrice damned glasses broke on me at the very beginning of the finals crunch. What did I do to deserve this? Luckily my mom is very motherly and well versed in the Girl Scout art of always being prepared, so I brought a spare pair with me from home. All was well and I faced forward with… renewed focus.
Thursday December 1: Last Fantasy class of the semester! I pitched my rough Fantasy paper topic and that went MUCH better than Decadence. With a rough plan in mind I headed home to dig in. Later that afternoon my time-turner arrived. Beautiful, though apparently not magic? Who knew?!
Between the first and the sixth there was significantly more heel dragging and futile resistance than there was productivity. Here’s a photo summary of Thursday through Wednesday:
By Thursday December 8: I had driven myself up a wall. My Fantasy topic was JUST NOT WORKING and I didn’t know how to make it better. I talked to my parents and that helped a bit, but it took me ages to realize that what I was lacking was a helpful framework or structure for my paper. I had a few good ideas but they weren’t coming together.
What I ended up doing was inventing my own strategy/criteria for the topic and writing my paper around that instead of trying to force it to fit an established critical framework. Once I talked Meg’s ear off about my strategy I managed to get a solid outline settled for Fantasy.
It also helped that mom had sent me my favorite tea from home! Seriously though, I think the post man thought I was trafficking fragrant drugs.
With tea, flatmate support, and the company of Kaitlin who was also fighting the good fight, the next few days were lost to an unending cycle of sleep, write, eat, write, cry, write, eat, sleep, repeat.
By Friday December 9 I had invented a DecMod topic and mostly drafted my Fantasy, so I was ready to switch gears. I had to go back though all of my old research from the 28th and figure out what was still useable, and then I spent an additional seven hours in the kitchen trying to come up with an outline. I was willing to consider any alternative at that point, but our oven isn’t big enough to fit a head and our third floor windows don’t open all the way. I even tried to become one with my bed, but it just wasn’t having it.
Sunday December 11: So close. So so so so close. I sent my drafts off for editing, shout out to Chelsea and Kaitlyn for being MVP’s about feedback.
Monday December 12: As it always does, dawn finally broke upon me. Awake at 4:30am, I accomplished laundry, cleaning, labeling, organizing, proofreading, submitting, grocery shopping, book return, and post office errands, all before 2:30pm. My final paper titles are as follows: For Decadence, “Distil the eternal from the transitory”: The Poetic Fabric of Romanticism, Decadence, and Modernism. Fantasy was, “Tell me, are you human or are you more than human?”: Encountering Otherness in the Science Fantasies of Edgar Rice Burroughs and C. S. Lewis. After that… FREEDOM.
Shortly after I got home the lads came to switch out our office/desk chairs. All well and good, and quite the spectacle, until they’d gone and I realized our new chairs DON’T HAVE WHEELS. What the hell is the point of a roll and spin desk chair if it doesn’t ROLL. I didn’t manage to catch a photo until they were almost done, but the whole courtyard on my side of the truck was strewn about with chairs. Feeling blissful about my existence (in spite of my sad new chair) led to the kind of dinner my mom said I should have been eating all week; a classic steak and potatoes meal of joy.
Tuesday December 13: My Fantasy cohort organized a lovely dinner out. In part to celebrate Christmas with everybody in the same place, but mostly to ensure that we all showered and had some human interaction (and real food). We went to Ketchup, the same place Meg, Jafet and I went to see the Fantastic Beasts Premiere! Glorious diner food and Christmas crackers (with silly prizes inside) made it an absolutely wonderful evening. Look at all of these happy students, free of the burden of final papers!
The walk home was lovely in spite of the drizzle, and I got to see the Kelvingrove all lit up 🙂
So all in all I’ve survived my first semester of grad school. How crazy is that?!
Coming up next: Carrianne and Meg go to Ireland and Brussels! We leave tomorrow, the 15th, and we’re not back until the 4th of January. I’m not bringing my computer, so even if I do manage to fit in a blog post it’s not going to have pictures for a while. I’ll answer whatever email I can, but otherwise I’m signing off until the new year.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!