Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Feds are going to confiscate my Bic

Today is a weird day. I've officially begun my new graduate assistantship (the reasons why I have a new one are both mysterious and ominous to me), and I'm therefore now sitting in the grand Gaylord library, gazing upon the football stadium across the street and wondering how in the blue blazes I ended up here. I mean, if a year ago you'd told me I'd soon become a librarian.........but then, my life has never had much organizational structure so I shouldn't be surprised. I will say that I've already been referred to as the "hot librarian," and this nickname has made me at least 30% happier about my new job. He who originated said title will not be named (as I have no desire to make him stop saying nice things about me), but let it be known that I give serious brownie points for clever nicknames that are also complimentary. Anonymous Man has already mastered the skill, but you should probably keep that in mind.

Today is also weird for a second reason: it's day 2 of the semester, and I've yet to decide what classes I'm taking. I mean, I know that I'm having coffee with Kris tomorrow and that I'm going shopping for vintage clothes on Saturday, but as for my graduate course schedule....yeah, that's pretty much up in the air. Sigh, I can no longer deny that I suck at being a grown-up. In my defense, however, I tried my damnedest to be responsible and pre-enroll over the holiday. Unfortunately that meant choosing classes all by me oncey - something a 24.93-year-old should theoretically be able to accomplish without much bloodshed or trauma. Not for me, however...I am the queen of getting myself into the wrong place at the wrong time (and of just generally making dumb decisions), and yesterday's class meeting was certainly no exception.

So, some background: I found this class via OU's enrollment website. It was outside of my department but similar enough to intrigue me, and the course description seemed both relevant and highly academic. Sure it was a doctoral level class, but I'm a smart girl, right? (I find that, while on holiday and therefore removed from reality, I am far too educationally ambitious for my own good). But I hadn't been to school in weeks, and I'd almost entirely forgotten how much of my self-professed "love of learning" is total BS. I don't love to learn; I love to think. And I love to choose what I think about, and I would never choose to think about the theoretical frameworks of multicultural communication studies....but I digress.

Point being I was stupid, and I picked a class so far out of my league that I blame OU for not saying "uhhh, no" and refusing to let me enroll in it. Approximately 3 days before the first class session I began to have that "hmmm, I think I may have really screwed myself" feeling. But to my cred I'm remarkably good at believing my own lies, so it wasn't until I actually attended the class that I realized exactly how much of a toolbag I am.

Just picture it: I walk into Territory Unknown, and the warm-welcome I receive from my professor includes the phrase "I think you're really courageous." Umm, never a good sign. Then, I come to notice the (5) other students in the class are staring at me with both awe and trepidation. A few blissfully clueless moments pass before I realize it's because they think I must be a genius...for what other person would strut, unaware and unphased, into a PhD-level course in a foreign department? (A genius or a fool, and they kindly (and incorrectly) gave me the benefit of the doubt.) So 5 minutes in and I'm already battling my fight or flight instincts.

Then I'm given a syllabus, and I have to call upon my pride to keep from running out the door at a breakneck speed. The reading list is, simply put, insanity incarnated. The assignments are utter madness, and the sheer volume of formal presentations strikes fear and horror to the depths of my soul. I keep my eyes trained on the paper and my head down (as I know the colorless nature of my face will give me away), and I begin reasoning with myself as to why I can't flee the scene.
"You got yourself into this, you moron. Be a woman and keep your butt in the chair."
"If you leave now and can't enroll in another class, you'll be even more effed than you are right now."
"Your schoolbag's too heavy for you to get far and the Prof will catch you before you're out of the building."
"Everyone here thinks you're brilliant, and if you run away they'll
probably figure out that you're not."
That final argument gave me the strength to stay, because let's face it; it feels good to have people believe you're awesome...even when they're completely wrong. So, I stifled the scream rising in my throat and committed myself to 2 hours of torture.

And torture it was.

I won't burden you with all the details, but let me just say that after that class I will not live as long as God originally intended. For the first hour I fought the urge to cry out in terror, and for the second hour I fought the urge to cry out in soul-crushing boredom. I underestimated the course in more ways than one...not only was it waaay more of a Smart Kid Class than I could handle; it was also taught by one of the most monotonously droll people the Earth has ever known. (Lovely woman, remarkably intelligent, could kick my butt at just about any standardized IQ test. But oh my sweet baby Jesus - THE DROLLDOM.) I kid you not; the entire class period was dedicated to reading the syllabus. Reading it. You know, out loud. Then, if we weren't reciting verbatim that "articles A1, A2, and A3, and subarticles a1-17 are to be read for class on March 19th," we were pondering the cyclical and identical natures of research proposals and presentations. WHY GOD WHY. I mean this in all seriousness, a violent part of me that has been made dormant by millions of years of meticulous evolution began to resurface over the span of that class period. I actually imagined taking my Bic and stabbing her in the eyeball with it...and when I became disturbed by this sadistic desire to hurt a sweet little woman, I turned the daydream inward and thought about stabbing the Bic in my own eye. And then I began once again fantasizing about running away (in all honesty, that fancy never fully left my mind). By the end of the class my thoughts were roaming about somewhere in Nor-Eastern OK, but even my best attempts at imaginative escapism could not ease the misery of those two hours. I have been scarred by the events of yesterday, and I'm only partially kidding when I write that.

So, needless to say I dropped that course like a vicious snapping turtle (...what?). I implored my Academic Advisor to help my wayward, wandering soul, and she agreed to look into some classes that are less likely to make me want to hurt myself or others. But until then I'm sittin' pretty with not enough hours and no real idea what to do about it. So I guess it makes sense that I go vintage-clothes-shopping this weekend; because if I get kicked out of school for not being a full-time, responsible, grown-up grad student, I'm going down with fierceness and style. God have mercy on my soul.

Much love.


  1. Great post. Of course I loved the time-tested and patented Abby Hess use of the "third-person self compliment" in paragraph 1. Hot librarian? Hahaha. Nice. I suddenly can't get Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" out of my head.

  2. ahem, when have I ever before incorporated the "time-tested and patented Abby Hess use of the 'third-person self compliment'"? what are you TALKING about, Princess? I'll have you know that was a real compliment from a real human person, who is by far higher up on my list than you are right now.

    post. please.

  3. Well whoever said it sounds like a pretty cool guy. heh ;)

  4. Has anyone explained to you the policy in the Gaylord building about getting arrested for trying to spy on football practice?

  5. oh yes...I'm now a monitor for that very purpose. I hope I get to rat out some Texas people.

  6. I was there when that building opened. That was one of the first things they told us. Apparently if we had a video camera in the building we'd get arrested. And I think the professors who had offices that faced the field had to sign some kind of non-disclosure agreement.