roasting marshmellows in phd hell

Posts Tagged ‘i hate academia

This is not Clown College and I am not a clown.

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Other job titles that I do not call my own:

1. Camp counselor

2.Cruise ship director

3. Airline customer service representative who will refund you 10% your ticket price because a sky waitress did not offer you a diet pepsi on your last journey

4. Asswiper for people who are, sadly, missing arms

There must be some cognitive dissonance going on somewhere though, because I feel like other people (ie my students and the Professional Student Enablers like Dr. University of Phoenix Online) think that I am being paid a pitiful wage to perform the aforementioned tasks.

It was brought to my attention recently that several “complaints” have been lodged against me.  What was the numero uno complaint, you ask?

(wait for it.  it’s good.)


I can’t say it better than Capt. Daniels.  First of all, like I mentioned earlier, it is not my fucking job to entertain you.  Although on some level this comment does hurt me, because I try my hardest to make my class relevant and entertaining.  But at some point, we are going to have to do some fucking work.  When it comes time to do that work, I tell the students EXACTLY what I am looking for.  I give out rubrics.  I have examples of what an “A” paper looks like.  I then repeat my instructions until I feel like a dried up old sitcom actor relegated to the dinner theater circuit, because half the class has arrived 30 minutes late and wants to know if they missed anything ‘important.’  And certainly I am not asking a lot from them.  You could ask the same from a 6th grader and they’d do it with less drama.  But when my instructions are ignored and they turn in something that was clearly done 10 minutes before class and, as a result, get a failing grade.. well yeah it’s not exactly a day at the fairground.

Also.  not everything in life is fucking fun.  I remember my own undergraduate experience being challenging and rewarding, and yes good times were had, but most of the ‘fun’ I remember involved underage drinking.  Classes with my favorite undergraduate professor were difficult and exhilarating and fucking awesome.  But ‘fun’ is something you have watching stupid youtube clips of people jumping off roofs onto trampolines.

This conversation with Dr. UofP Online was so infuriating.  I am a fucking professional!  I am a hair’s width from having my phd (sob).  I do my work with integrity, and trust me, I take into account the limitations of my particular student population.  Nevertheless, I was told that I need to ‘remember where I am.’

It’s impossible to fucking forget where I am.

I don’t see any cobblestones or marble or other building materials that imply ancient tradition or scholarly rigor.  But I am still at an accredited college and I don’t see how a 10 page reading assignment and the expectation that people have their heads up and eyes open is asking too much.

“Not fun” is synonymous for having standards besides the ability to fog a mirror.  So because I have some standards and don’t take shit from lazy fuckers, they think they can lodge complaints about me all the live long day.  And they are right, because they can, and assholes like Dr. UofP online take their complaints seriously.

In many places, this is the reality of ‘higher ed.’

And I feel trapped, because why the hell else did I get a phd if not to dig in this mine?



Written by universityoflies

November 1, 2013 at 22:29

3 Questions You Should Never Ask a PhD Student

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If you are so unlucky to be the friend/significant other/neighbor of a PhD student, this short list may help you avoid some awkward social terrain:

1. How’s it going?

Terrible.  Don’t ask.

Though a more offensive sub-variation of this question is “How’s your paper/essay going?”  My paper/essay is going fine because it was 500 words

What keeps me looking so young and fresh?  Foucault and Puppies, dahling.

What keeps me looking so young and fresh? Foucault and Puppies, dahling.

and I finished it as a first-year undergraduate.  I am doing a DISSERTATION. (throws self on floor kicking and screaming in the manner of a cartoon dictator.  Makes bodysuit out of puppies)


2. When will you be finished?

As I have told you repeatedly for the last coughcoughcough years, I have no fucking idea.  It’s done when it’s done.  I am not trying to be coy or zen about this, I swear.  I honestly have no fucking idea.

Sometimes people will ask follow up questions like, ‘well how many pages does it have to be?”  Again, see my answer to numero dos, part 1.  Nobody knows any of this shit.  The requirements for a phd are about as clear and factual as a campfire ghost story.  In fact, nobody in my department is willing to give concrete numbers.  The advice is usually something really helpful like, “it shouldn’t be short.  but you don’t want it to be too long either.  And beware of a scratching disembodied hand on the roof of your car if you’ve parked at Lookout Point.”

3. No, seriously!  When will you be finished?


Written by universityoflies

February 26, 2013 at 22:50