Monday, October 23, 2006

Life

I have always despised blogs that are nothing but online journals in which boring people recount the boring incidents of their pathetic, pointless lives. And yet from time to time I find myself dipping into that form. This is one such time.

I have so many things to do in the next few months that I have absolutely no idea how or if I will prevail. These tasks include, but are not limited to:

1. Being a dad
2. Being a husband
3. Writing my dissertation chapters (without which I will have no more papers)
4. Submitting for publication said papers (without which my chances of employment are greatly diminished)
5. Sending out job and postdoc applications (without which I have nowhere to go once the dissertation is done)
6. Teaching
7. Dealing with all of the administrativa bullshit that goes along with being a student, a teacher, and a human being with a car, an apartment, paychecks, insurance, taxes, etc.

The first, second, sixth, and seventh tasks are common to most of humanity, so I get no relief bitching about them. It's 3-5 that are stressing me out. I've been writing papers for eight years now, but mostly this has been at my own pace and without any immediate consequences. Now I have to write the equivalent of several years' output at once, and that output will set the pace for the formative years of my career. Simultaneously, big swaths of time are given over to applying for jobs and postdocs. It's a total catch-22. Without the dissertation I can't get any jobs, and without the job there's no point in finishing the dissertation.

Never mind the other problem, which is that my research costs basically nothing to do, so I have no experience applying for big external grants, and most employers want to see someone who can develop and externally-funded research program. So I have to figure out how to do that with very little experience and at the same time as I'm writing the diss, getting the papers out the door, and applying for positions.

I believe the word for what's going on here is clusterfuck.

I know that many of you are current or former grad students and you have been or are in the same boat and I'm bitching to the choir. Feel free to bitch back. And don't be surprised if I post further updates at long and irregular intervals.

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