When I initially withdrew from grad school I felt relieved. A dead albatross was no longer hanging around my neck, I was so happy I took it off on my own terms. Naturally I started job hunting and at first it seemed like there was a world of opportunities. However there wasn’t. For every promising lead posted on any job finding site there are at least twenty postings for jobs outside of my skillset and completely irrelevant to the search terms. Staying at home all day every day with little to anticipate is soul crushing.
Last month I started volunteering for two local museums. One is a historical home and the other is a more general town museum. Volunteering there three times a week has done wonders for me. Now I finally have something to do and look forward to and am beginning to hone skills relevant to my history degree for when I apply for a promising job in the future, along with extending my network.
Another thing I have been doing is taking DSLR classes. I got a Canon for my birthday, so I’ve been doing a weekly class at a local nearby community college. Right now I’m doing the second part, the first part three weeks ago. Pretty soon I’ll be creating an online portfolio, I’ll post a link here once I do.
As I had mentioned in an earlier post, last quarter I was on academic probation and was at risk of being dismissed from my grad program in I failed to get my GPA up to the minimum. Well this time my quarterly GPA was better and did go somewhat up, but it was well below the minimum. In fact, I got the first D of my academic career. My ADA coordinator told me the best case scenario would be that I be allowed to stay another quarter and be allowed to complete the degree if I adequately raised my GPA. It’s a year long program. If I did, I would get permission to take two classes a quarter instead of three and retake the classes I didn’t do so hot in, which would mean graduating the year after.
That option seemed unsavory. Having just scraped by a quarter with the risk of dismissal over my head, I didn’t want to go through another such quarter. Even worse, this time there would be the risk of of spending all that extra time and money for me to be dismissed from the program after completing 75% of it. Another concern was that being able to stay and complete the program would be a Pyrrhic Victory, where the battle is one at the expense of winning the war.
For that reason I decided it would probably be wisest t0 withdraw from the program. Initially I was waiting for word back from the department, if they dismissed me it would eliminate the choice for me and if not I wanted to know what they offered. However after returning home I decided to go ahead and withdraw before they did. I wanted to leave the program with some dignity.
On December 20th I was no longer a Duck. It only went uphill from there.
Now I am looking for full time employment. Hopefully I will find a job before the end of May, when the cohort ends. Obviously the sooner I get something the better, but I do want to enter the real world earlier than I would have if I stayed in the program and graduated on time.
I’d be tempted to make a lewd joke about her and Hermey, but I’ll be a good boy and come up with something creative. My guess is she goes to the North Pole’s #1 spa resort and gets a Swedish massage, facial, and mineral mud bath. This is her alone time to spoil herself while her husband is out on his busiest work day. After the spa day is done, she goes back home and brews some peppermint tea, turns on the Santa tracking channel, and waits eagerly for her husband to come home.
Some people know them as panthers, mountain lions, pumas, catamounts, or painters. Where I’m from we call them cougars. Here in Washington alone it is estimated there are over 2,500 cougars in the wild. They are majestic, yet intimidating creatures. Even though most Washingtonians are surrounded by the woods, most people have never seen a cougar in person or given them much concern. My neighborhood is a dirt road so when word gets out one was spoken everyone on the street makes sure all their guns are out.
I have seen a cougar up close. One day me and my dad were driving to town and we saw one. We had just reached the paved part of the main road when a cougar leaped from one side of the road to the other. All I saw was a tail and a flash of tan fur. For a moment I thought I saw a giant monkey, as nonsensical as that sounds.
One of the few hobbies of mine I don’t recall ever mentioning on here is my stamp collection. When I was eight my dad took me to a stamp collecting event while my mom was having my brother’s baby shower. I was familiar with the concept of stamp collecting but had never given it much thought. Part of the event included being able to collect a page worth of stamps for free.
I decided this was something I wanted to get into so my dad got me a subscription to the Mystic Stamp catalog. Part of the subscription included being sent several packets of stamps every month, you could buy the ones you wanted and send the others back. While many people collect stamps for their value or significance, I didn’t care about any of that. What intrigued me about stamps was the fact they are like visual art in miniature form. I also enjoyed the fact that I could own mini paintings from all over the world. I acquired stamps from Hungary, Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq, the Marshall Islands, you name it. Even better, some were from places that no longer exist like the USSR or Upper Volta.
Honestly I don’t remember how long I collected stamps, but after a few years I called it quits. Paying for the subscription and stamps was too costly, mounting them in albums was time consuming. Of the hundreds of stamps I own, maybe ten percent are mounted in a quarter full album. The mounts were even more expensive. I still have that album and the rest of the stamps are in a shoebox, both kept at the bottom of a dresser which I have lots of random crap in.
I’d post some samples from my collection, but they’re back in Washington six hours away. Maybe some day I’ll get back into it. Here is a good stamp collecting blog: https://stampaday.wordpress.com
During undergrad I lived in the dorms. Doing so provided the perfect mixture of both community and convenience. Now that I’m in grad school at the University of Oregon I live in an apartment off campus, UO does have graduate dorms but they fill up quickly with preferential treatment given to those with spouses and/or kids. My apartment complex is exclusively for college students. However it doesn’t remotely feel like a dorm. You don’t really know your neighbors, there are no RAs, educational bulletin boards, or halls decorated in a theme that changes every term. Lacking RAs is a real problem, because there are obnoxious assholes who scream and holler for no apparent reason between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM without any consequence. Had there been RAs those loudasses would probably get fined and written up.
Unfortunately the complex is located right next door to a Holiday Inn and they are building an additional wing. My room is located right next to the construction. Fortunately the construction stops around sunset, so I only have to hear the aforementioned hollering imbeciles. However if I wake up early I will hear the construction load and clear. Having just ended dead week and currently entering finals week, I just get out of bed and begin working on assignments.
When I was in France I had the fortune to visit a few of their famous caves. Like any other tourist in Dordogne, I visited Lascaux II. While Lascaux II faithfully reproduces most of the great art of the original, it is painfully obvious you’re in a tourist attraction the whole time. I also was able to visit Font-de-Gaume, a lesser known cave which has original paintings and reliefs. Mammoths, bison, horses and reindeer are all found throughout, though most of them require you to look hard to notice them. We had a tour guide who pointed each one out and gave us background about each work. Voices echoed whenever spoken.
Reaching Font-de-Gaum requires a laborious hike up steep stairs to the top of the hill. It was well worth it and I was conditioned for it, I had been in the Parisian Catacombs and climbed to the roof of Notre Dame just a few days earlier.
The pictures are not my own, they don’t allow tourists to take photos:
Nothing sucks more than being confused about an assignment deadline. While I was able to get a lot done over Thanksgiving break, I didn’t realize that I had a major assignment due tonight. I thought it wasn’t due until next week. I’m pretty much done in all my other classes, so I can finally zero in on completing this draft. This has been a stressful semester, especially with the additional burden of being on academic probation. I just remind myself of what Dory would do. Just keep swimming.
I guess it’s a good opportunity to post some pictures of my trip to France back in May. Here are some pics from the Musee d’Orsee, Musee Cluny and Notre Dame.