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.
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.
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.
This year I’m spending my Thanksgiving all alone. I was going to go back home and had a round trip Amtrak booked to go to Washington and back, but my mom told me she thought it would be wise if I cancelled the ticket and stated in Oregon. She’s right. I’ve been busy and stressed out, with barely enough hours in a day and days in a week to stay on top of my homework. That train departed on Tuesday and I had a revision draft of an article due yesterday. Tuesday was also the day I gave a student presentation that forms 35% of my grade in that class, I hadn’t been scheduled when the ticket was bought.
I always found Thanksgiving break to be ill timed, since the semester/quarter is usually only for like two more weeks or so not counting finals week. During undergrad the break generally helped me charge my batteries to soldier through the last leg of the semester. Now that I’m in grad school I simply can’t afford to take almost a weekend off, let alone an extended one. Especially when home is a six hour train trip away, compared to a half hour car ride.
As for my Selfsgiving dinner I’m having turkey breast, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, marshmallow yams, and stuffing.
As I mentioned on an earlier post, I took a film making class during my last undergrad semester. One of the assignments was doing a shot for shot reproduction of a scene from a theatrical film. For mine I did the opening graveyard scene from Night of the Living Dead. It was fun to shoot but there were a couple of important cuts that acted were out with the camera off unbeknownst to me, an unpleasant discovery made when I was editing the footage in Adobe Premiere. This was frustrating because we didn’t have time to reshoot those missing scenes, so we had to make do with what was shot.
And here is the original scene for for reference:
One thing I love about living in Eugene are all of the characters that I see on a regular basis. Almost all UO students dress totally normally, but lots of the other denizens in Eugene are rather unusual. Hippies are the most obvious subculture visible, but there are also a lot of others like punks and the occasional lite Goth. Some notable individuals include a barefoot, dreadlocked, mandolin growing pot farmer, a guy in a fox skin hat who plays the didgeridoo, and a leprechaun.
Yes, you read that correctly. A leprechaun. He wears a green bowler, a vest, shorts with striped knee socks, has a pointy goatee and smokes a pipe. His backpack has a bong sticking out of it and a cauldron attached. I’m honestly uncertain whether he intentionally dresses like a leprechaun or if it’s all a crazy coincidence.
I’ve been tempted to ask him about his pot of gold.
That’s what I drink every morning before my first class. I’ve been doing so for my whole time in college, it’s what gives me the energy and attention skills to power through my classes.
This week is finals week. Today I got a supreme (the lawyer friendly Venti), because the pesky International Relations take home essay on the IMF and World Bank won’t write itself.
The first half of this semester was depressing for me, the depression was tolerable. Around midterms too many unexpected changes happened and that made me stress out and panic. Shit got too weird and I ended up missing the whole week after midterm, and things have felt like one game of catch up after another. I’ve never been so excited to get done with a semester. Only a week and a half left!
Today I got back from Thanksgiving break. I usually come back on Sunday, but I need to keep track of the last weeks of the semester.