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Being a Graduate Student

November 7, 2008

I have papers to write but here I am indulging in yet another blog entry. I have been pondering hard about what it takes to be a graduate student, especially when one is an alien as well. As a student in the humanities, I am forever inundated with readings for the next class and am always many steps behind. Anyway, here are 10 things about what being a graduate student is like, especially for someone like me who returns to school after some time out in the real world, even if that time was for only 6.5 years during which time I’d also earned a Masters:

1. Paranoid about fulfilling course requirements, language requirements and being on top of things (which I never am). I have not taken my prelims, in case you’re wondering.

2. Being at the bottom of the academic pecking order (undergraduates do not count here since they can see the end of the horizon more clearly than us, and many would most likely be earning bucket loads while we still struggle through school).

3. Free food hunting (to save on cooking and buying food).

4. Immobility (because I do not have a car or a bike at the moment, and also because I am always too busy to move around much).

5. Over-saturation of intellectual stimulation (I am complaining about this for the first time in a long long time)

6. Little personal life (or at least minimal time could be expended in this area as it always means being behind work again. Also because for me, I no longer have the extensive network of friends, and also of family members, that I have back home).

7. Little time to indulge in frivolous activities (I wish I can have more time to write pop-articles instead of unreadable academic papers).

8. Being able to wake up late (if I do not have class, RA work or appointment in the morning).

9. Always looking for the cheapest option (well, I used to do that even as a working person but there was enough for some indulgence now and then. Today, to get a 45 minute massage once a semester and  buy a book is an indulgence.)

10. Paying too much taxes for the little I earn.

Oh yeah, another point I should not forget

Being addicted to the Internet because the world out there is always more interesting than mine.

If you are still reading, here’s an interesting, three-year-old blog entry on whether graduate students should blog

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