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Graduate Student Onwards

September 6, 2010

We live in a bubble of supposedly smart people. So in this bubble of smartness, smart people go to school together, smart people hang out, smart people facebook each other, smart people mate and smart people collaborate  (not always the case in the latter, since some smart people prefer to work alone).

But what is all this smartness anyway? Does it have to do with our ability to pass certain tests of smartness, maybe at a few degrees higher than the kind administered to bonobos? Does it have to do with our making the cut set by admissions committee who decide on the fate of the thousands of applicants every year (does the number ever reach thousands?) Does it have to do with our writing papers that only a small group of people can afford to read or understand? Or is it the mark of recognition afforded us by a long train of prefixes and suffixes sandwiching the parent-given names?

Not all smart people are in graduate school, and not even all people in graduate school are in-love with the idea of life in the academia (which does not always equate to life of the mind, since many such courses are often rejected by a practical undergrad, not that one can blame them when they are going into such high debt). But the smart peope in graduate school, especially the ‘elite’ graduate schools, like the feeling that they may be ahead of the pack of the selected. But graduate students also lead a life of perpetual guilt-trip whenever they don’t find themselves working as hard to meet whatever deadlines, or working ahead of deadlines. I completely understand that, having taken an entire weekend off from this semester’s responsibilities (except for the ones I am inclined towards) but I am not allowing myself to guilt-trip.

I always wonder why people outside of graduate school think we live golden lives when we share the same neurosis, depression, migraines, stress, anxieties and nervousness, sometimes perhaps to a higher order than someone who works a 9-5 job, 5 times a week. You can tell by seeing the sort of Facebook statuses that come out when the semester goes into full swing.

Well, I suppose it is time to get back to hit the books. Sure, I have the golden life to read til the cows come home, but you forget that I only have a limited amount of time to do so.

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