1. I think that the work of Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, and Richard Wright is more important than the work of Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, and Karl Marx.
2. While you are listening attentively, taking notes, and asking intelligent questions at lectures and workshops, I am checking my watch for the thirtieth time and thinking, I'd rather explain string theory to the Kardashians than be here. Actually, I'd rather let the Kardashians explain string theory to ME than be here.
3. When I sit quietly at my desk in the office that the teaching assistants share, I try not to hear about the parties and outings that you plan together. And I try not to let it bother me that I'm never invited.
4. I feel much happier writing fiction and creative nonfiction than I do writing a dissertation that hardly anyone will ever read (even though I know that there's a chance that hardly anyone will ever read my fiction and creative nonfiction).
5. Oh, my dissertation? I've written about a hundred and fifty pages of b.s. so far, and you?
6. When you laughed at me for staying in the office to work on a Friday night, I never told you how I was tempted to pour soda all over your books and papers after you left.
7. I really do think it's great that you've won awards for your work. The last time I won an award was when I worked in retail, for being a fast and efficient worker.
8. The only people who think I'm doing a great job are my students.
9. I've burst into tears in the ladies' room and started stress-eating Starburst on more than one occasion.
10. I'm always nervous and stressed before I have to meet with my professors, and I'm even more stressed after I've met with them.
11. Sometimes grad school feels like junior high all over again with its "cool kids" and its "cliques", and I'm the weird outcast all over again. Back then I was smart and I earned good grades; at least I had that. But in graduate school, I usually feel like I'm anything but smart.
12. I gave up on trying to be included in the grad school cliques a long time ago. When I'm away from grad school, I go bike riding by the lake when it's warm. I write in cafes and take one-night classes at StoryStudio. I dance at the gym. I go to book signings and other literary events, where I meet authors (last week I got my picture taken with B.J. Novak, aka Ryan from The Office, at his book signing for his collection of short stories!). I read books without any footnotes in them. Those things make me happy, and they give me something to look forward to when I'm at school.
How about you? Do you keep secrets from the people that you work with? Do you still encounter cliques now that you're an adult, or were they left behind once you left school?
Eurovision, A New Brenda Novak!, Insecure Writer's Support Group Day, and ROW80 - [image: E]urovision! The annual song contest is now accepting entries in one of the very preliminary rounds: selection of the national song that will go on...
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