Strange things can be funny under the right circumstances. For instance, on the trip down to Texas, my sister and I were sitting in the car, listening to a country music station (this was before we arrived in Waco). An announcer came on the air and bellowed: “It’s four o’clock IN TEXAAAAAS!”
My sister and I burst out laughing, possibly because we’d been driving for about seven hours by this point. Just the tone of the announcer seemed to indicate that, while it may be three o’clock elsewhere, five o’clock somewhere, or even four o’clock in any other state in that time zone, this was four o’clock IN TEXAS and was just that much more awesome.
A friend of mine commented (very justly), that as interesting as country music and video games ARE, I haven’t actually said very much about what I’m DOING at Grad School. I generally don’t talk much about my day-to-day life on my blog, partly because I’m afraid of the hundreds of internet stalkers who must be tracking my every post, partly because my day-to-day life isn’t particularly exciting. But I AM in very new circumstances, which as yet I’ve never really properly described. So here we go.
I’m currently living in a two room, one bathroom apartment. Utilities are fully paid, which is one less hassle for me to worry about and means I can air-condition as much as I want and drink water till the cows come home. Pretty nice. By this point, I’ve more or less settled in by sticking up pictures everywhere and arranging the furniture properly. Things like cleaning schedules and so forth are still in process, but laundry and grocery shopping are running on a pretty regular plan right now. I recently discovered that I have twenty more dollars per week to spend than I thought I did, so that gives me a bit more freedom in terms of food and entertainment.
I have to do all my cooking, but I don’t have a microwave and the only baking pan I bought is slightly too large for the oven, so I’ve been frying a lot of food. So far, I’ve gotten on a reliably rotating schedule of hamburgers, hotdogs, and chicken. It’s pretty good, apart from hotdogs which are kinda disgusting. Maybe I’ll start buying some bratwurst. I do have plenty of sausage, which I tend to fry along with eggs in the morning for breakfast. Lunch generally consists of either peanut butter or ham sandwiches. Occasionally I have a flavor-ice to spice up the evening. On the whole, it’s a pretty satisfactory arrangement. It keeps me alive, though between that and walking to classes all the time, I’ve been getting pretty thin.
Of course, it might be that the exercise is actually WORKING for once. In addition to walking to all my classes (and sweating pretty hard en route), I’ve been trying to go to the gym fairly regularly. Sorta as part of my physical therapy–I’m supposed to build up the muscles around my shoulder, hopefully keeping it from popping out all the time. It hasn’t done so yet, which is good, but it gives me a twinge every so often to remind me that it’s there.
Classes are another thing. Due to the way I signed up for classes, I actually have NO stories to read. A big downer, as stories are half the fun of my field. Mostly, I’m reading the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (for Old English class) and different feminist essays (for Women’s Rhetoric).
Women’s Rhetoric… well, I doubt anyone from that class is going to read this, so I’ll be pretty frank. Women’s Rhetoric was a mistake on my part. The course Title initially was “Rhetoric and Composition” and touted to be partly about the history and development of the English language. Plus, it was about the only class open at the time, so I registered for it (I wasn’t aware that grad classes open and close at random intervals). Only when I got to Baylor and started shopping for books did I realize that I had registered for 19th Century WOMEN’S Rhetoric.
All things considered, it’s not as bad as it might be. We’re reading different feminist essays, some from the 19th century, some from more modern times COMMENTING on the 19th century. A lot of them are annoying, but they’re not all bad. And there are a number of other people in the class who aren’t wild about feminism either, so it’s nice to have them for support. Really, no one in the class is unreasonable, even the teacher is pretty good about encouraging people to talk, but keeping them from REALLY arguing. The point of the class isn’t supposed to be feminism so much as it is rhetoric, so it should go okay. Still, not such a fun class.
Anglo-Saxon is better, though still devoid of fiction. German isn’t nearly as much help as I’d hoped, modern English is almost closer sometimes. The book we read confuses me horribly, and a lot of times the teacher does too, but whenever it comes down to translation exercises or quizzes, I do just fine (the exception to that is the last quiz, which I bombed rather badly. Hopefully that’s not the start of a trend). And just the Anglo-Saxon language is a hilarious exhibition of the culture. Do you know that the Anglo-Saxon word for “visit” also means “invade?”
The work I love. Tutoring and writing center work are arguably the best part of grad school thus far, and not just because 60% of the time we’re sitting around waiting for someone to walk in. It’s just really great to be able to help students with their work, to point out how they could do things better and clarify points that confused them. Some of the people we get have never written a response paper in their lives before, and are just horribly confused and afraid about it. It’s a real joy to work with them.
The people are pretty good too. All my fellow co-workers at the Athletic Writing Center are pretty awesome people, and I’ve had lots of opportunities to get to know them. There’s a surprisingly high amount of geekiness among the English grad students–surprising, because English students aren’t always known for reading comic books and playing video games. One lady grad student in particular was relieved to find herself among people “who like to read books AND watch movies!”
Not just the workers, either. My old roommate from college lives about an hour and a half away, an old friend from high school lives an hour away (apparently these distances are nothing to Texans), and there are at least three fellow Grove City Students at Baylor itself. I’ve been here for about a month, and I really think I’m starting to get to know some of the people around here and make some good friends. Getting my roots down, so to speak.
I think I’m finally starting to get into the swing of things down here. It’s eleven o’clock in Texas.