What Was I Thinking?

Free-For-All Friday: What Was I Thinking?

stressed like this

This week has been crazy.  Frantic, stressful, exhausting, and amazing.  As some of you know personally (and others know from reading my ‘About’ page), I began my PhD in Literature this week, after being out of school for a little over a year.  I was more than a little worried that after all that time off I would not be able to switch back into “school-mode” early mornings, heavy work loads, enormous stress, etc.  And the first week of class did not make it easier, that’s for damn sure.

I do not have classes on Monday, but I began the week on campus in order to fill out paperwork, take care of some logistics, finalize my syllabus (because I also teach Freshman Composition as a Teaching Fellow), and so forth.  I was greeted with ridiculously hot and humid weather (even for Houston), long lines, downed computers, and a screw-up that meant I would not be able to access the office I share with several other Teaching Fellows until NEXT Monday.  Not an auspicious beginning for the semester, to say the least.

Tuesday was my first day of actual classes.  For those of you who are curious, my classes are: French for Non-Majors (which I need to fulfill my foreign language requirement) on Tues and Thurs, teaching one Freshman Composition course on Tues and Thurs, Intro to Doctoral Studies on Tues, and Sociolinguistics on Wed.  By Wednesday night, having been to all of my classes once, I was already exhausted, stressed, and laden with homework assignments.  I already have to read two entire books and give a group presentation by Tuesday.

I guess my professors don’t want to give us any illusions about how easy the PhD is going to be.  “Welcome to the first day of your PhD. Now get to work!”  Part of me keeps screaming in the back of my head: WHAT WAS I THINKING???

One thing I can say is that my Sociolinguistics course, while extremely difficult, is going to be absolutely awesome!  The subject matter is simply so fascinating to me, and the professor seems understanding, friendly, egalitarian in her treatment of graduate students, and more than a little funny.  And seriously, I get to talk about language all day!  How could that be anything but a good thing?

I also think my students this semester are going to be wonderful.  After only two class periods the first of which was merely getting all that introductory stuff out of the way they seem to be mostly attentive and at least somewhat interested in the class.  Granted, these are all college freshmen in a composition class, and few of them (if any) really enjoy writing research papers.  But at least they were all willing to enter into discussions in class.  That is always a good sign.

All in all, I suspect this is going to be a very long semester.  I think (I hope) I can manage it, but it’s not going to be easy.  You may hear some exhausted whining on this blog, though I will try to keep it to a minimum.  I just thought I should give you all some fair warning.

surprised a little like this

However, what really made this week particularly insane, was being featured on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed page.  I’m not sure you can imagine my shock and glee when I was told on Tuesday morning by the lovely Piper Bayard on Twitter that she had seen me on the front page of WordPress.  I never saw it coming!

It was an absolutely wonderful feeling to check my email in between classes on Tuesday and see how many people had commented, liked, and subscribed to my blog.  Of course, I was far too overwhelmed by the sheer number of comments to do much more than sit back and stare at my computer screen in awe.  But it was (and continues to be) an absolutely astounding sensation.  Once again, I cannot thank you all enough for your interest and support.

I am currently trying to go through all the comments.  I read every single one of them, but unfortunately there is simply no way I can respond to all of them.  I am trying to respond to as many as I can, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I fail to respond to your comment.

I also hope you’ll forgive me if this particular post is a little too personal and boring to keep the interest of all my new readers.  But I wanted to get this out there.  I promise that next week’s blog posts are all written, ready to go, and far more interesting than this one.  So I hope you’ll bear with me and come back on Monday.

yeah, kinda like that

In the meantime, I need to read Professing Literature: An Institutional History by Gerald Graff.  And possibly put my head through a wall.  So I’ll be going.

Have a wonderful wonderful weekend everyone! Thank you again! And I’ll see you next week!

12 thoughts on “What Was I Thinking?

  1. All I can say is I completely understand and look forward to whatever you share with us about your Sociolinguistics (now we’re speaking my language…)

    We’re with you all the way – your readers.


  2. I’ll be returning to school in January 🙂 Given my affinity for reading blogs and books and articles etc, I was shocked to learn that I need to take a reading comprehension placement exam.

    Congratulations on getting freshly pressed! I hope you continue to write about your literary and literal adventures!

    • It’s always silly the kinds of hoops colleges make you jump through, isn’t it? But I’m sure you’ll do just fine and get the silliness out of the way quickly.

      And thank you!

  3. Welcome to the Ph.D. program! From what I hear, the “WHAT WAS I THINKING” voice never really goes away.

    I had my first full week of Ph.D. studies last week as well, so I see where you’re coming from. I’ve already been given enough tasks to know that they aren’t going to give me that degree without a fight, but I think I’m starting to get used to the workload.

  4. Ha, love the last bit of your post. Try to wear a helmet if you must smash your head into the wall, ok, Amanda. Wishing you the best first week ever; have fun!

  5. Just saying I’ll be reading this blog even closer from now on. A PhD, that’s amazing! I love literature as well, I’m studying it as an undergraduate, 2nd yr. I really want to get to PhD level – it’s just a question of stress & funding! Hope it goes really well for you, keep us posted 🙂

    • Thank you so much! The stress is definitely something to consider when deciding if you want to pursue grad work. I’ve really decided over the years that grad school/phd is not for everyone — not because not everyone is smart enough or whatever, because I really don’t think that’s the point. The big thing is that it takes a special brand of insanity and masochism to WANT to do this. Seriously, there are so many other better things most people could be doing. Only do THIS is everything in you is screaming for it and you just can’t help yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be brain-dead inside a month.

      Wow, listen to me. Geez, what a downer.

      Not that I’m trying to discourage you! Seriously, if you LOVE it, GO FOR IT and never look back! Just make sure its what you really want first.

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