It has been a year since my graduate career had been trounced.
I remember the whole thing in a series of stills, kind of how you remember a car crash. My family was in the kitchen taking the cake out of the fridge to sing happy birthday to my brother. I went in to check my email, because as a graduate student I was constantly preoccupied with my email.
I opened my in-box and could not believe the news I had read. Months of work and stress and toil had been shoved into the garbage disposal and shredded. I felt like someone took a razor to every nerve ending in my body and made a fine cut straight through the diameter. I was straight up sick for about a month after and got about 3 cold sores in a row.
I’ll never forget one day, sitting next to Trevor while he was on his computer. His speakers made a sudden, loud, kind of awful noise. I was so on edge I just started crying uncontrollably. My nerves had been so shot. I had never been that stressed out before.
I read once that graduate students often score the same on stress tests as terminally ill cancer patients and I’m sure if you checked me, that is where I would have been a year ago.
…anyway, I’m not the first to claim that American graduate schools are broken and I’m sure I won’t be the last. Students are helpless and vulnerable to a professional who’s title is often paired with the word “nutty.” Nutty indeed.
The important thing for me is that it just doesn’t matter anymore. I’m glad my world screeched to a halt a year ago. I hit the “refresh” button and the view was much clearer.