Monday, June 4, 2012

Comprehensive Exams In Social Media

So... I'm working on an eloquent, thoughtful post about what it is like to be an academic and a mom, but at the moment, my brains have dribbled out my ears, so I thought, to give a taste of what it is like by giving you a sampling of my social media posts over the past month while I've been plodding through Comps.

Comps day 1: I'm weirdly excited about my question set. I must remember this is not the time or forum to write a scathing tract calling for disciplinary reform.

Comps Day 4: I had a dream last night that I was having lunch with Kofi Agawu and debating a point I'm making in my 1st comps essay.

wishes she lived in a world where words have simple meanings... the genius who brought her this delicious crepe has never spent 5 days considering the essential nature of the banana or the meaning of the word 'text.' (Consider this the Comps Day 5 report)

Brain no worky. Time for sleeps... back at it in the morning... 2500 words to write by sundown Sunday. 

Plan for today: eat yummy Mexican food, reread some cultural theory, buy cheap kid clothes, eat ice cream, write 700 words. I'm that cool.

My child just handed me my copy of the Turabian Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Am I reading too much into this, or is she saying 'get to work, lady?'

Comps Day 8: A day behind schedule. I think this is fine, if I can get essay 1 sorted today, and essay 2 should be easier, so will take less time, right?

Comps day 9: I seem to be going through all of the stages I usually go through developing a project, but in quicker succession-- excitement, panic, crippling self-doubt, bitter anger. Usually I have several months to cycle through all of this. In other news, I've written the same footnote so many times I no longer need to consult the publication info in the front of the book

Comps Day 10: I have realized that my interest in Charles Ives may stem from a sense that at least my writing is more organized than his. So I'm going to bed... perhaps clarity will be with me in the morning.

People who have an undergrad degree in anything think they know what grad school is like: undergrad w/ more reading, less drinking. That's like saying you know what parenting is like because you used to babysit in high school or you have a dog.

Comps Day 11, you are dead to me. Comps Day 12, I still have hope you can make up for your neighbor's shortcomings.

Mid-day report for Comps day 12: Out of negative word-count territory and in need of a break before they think I'm moving into this coffee shop. Heading to the Magnolia-league music library with a baggie full of change so I can make the copies I need before the weekend.

It is very weird to cite your friends in scholarly prose. I want to say 'so-and-so, who I've been roaringly drunk with multiple times….'

You should see what my kid can do with a bowl of oatmeal.

What is 1500 words between friends? Or between student lackey and established academicians determining her fate forever?

Then it's a good thing my problem isn't a shortage?

It seems like I spend more and more time reading things and thinking 'that sucks' even when it is stuff I'm supposed to respect.

Comps Days 13 and 14 report: I have decided that Scrivener is the best writing tool ever. The more I work through these projects, the more features I start using. Essay number 1 is almost finished and essay number 2 is in progress. Essay number 3... well, according to the schedule, I don't have to worry about that until tomorrow.

Thank you, Google Books for being so utterly useless.

If I'm ironic and no one hears it does it mean I wasn't ironic or just that no one gives a shit? Or that I'm a hipster?

Yes. I know it is weird to sit in the coffee lounge of the YMCA working with musical scores. You don't need to glare at me.

Comps Day 17: Just dug out my dog-eared old copy of Rosen's The Classical Style. This thing might really be going off the rails.

I hate end notes. I always have. I hate them even more in e-books.

Comps Day 18: Wrestling coherence out of an incoherent mass. Also, realizing my paper-saving strategies might be a profit-boosting scheme for my eye doctor.

More in statements in parenting that I never thought I'd hear: 'Don't yell into the toilet, please.'

Comps Day 22: It is amazing just how much of my work process involves making tea and shopping for shoes on the internet.

Comps day 24: I'm quickly reaching the point where hygiene is optional. I've also learned exactly one thing about my discipline: we hate trees

Comps day whatever: moment of truth time. Essay 1: 6524/5000 words. Essay 2: 3275/5000 words. Essay 3: 2853/5000 words. I know what to write, now it is just doing it in crunch time. The editing task does flummox me a bit, though.

Back to the mines. I'm finally confronting the major source of my word overage, so today's goal is to let a couple of respected scholars off the hook. At least for the sake of comps.

Going to bed now. Comps essay number 1, for the spectators out there, is written and edited, but for the formatting and its lack of a title.

Thinks 'Because I Hate Myself' is a bad title for her last essay, no?

Comps, the Final Hours: Me, 3 essays, one PB&J, CBC, and the CMS. 1 Hour of fixing crap, and I'm DONE. If it isn't done by then, it must not be important.

And DONE. (Assuming no technology SNAFU) All research materials are officially grounded until further notice and I'm going out for cake. Then I'm going to sleep.