Sunday, September 6, 2009

Scientiae: ThereIsNoIinTeamButThereIs_M_E

Attributed to my best friend, whispered during one of our track coaches' less effective pep talks.

"There is an M and an E in Team," may indeed be my style right now. Maybe the snark isn't quite so fitting, but it's a lot closer than being inspired.

I have been working on my research-based Master's since the fall of 2005. There are lots of perfectly good reasons why I haven't finished- field seasons, Booker's deployment, bouts of anxiety disorder, insomnia (MAJOR insomnia, like 3-4 hours a night for months in a row) and depression. Now I'm just outright embarrassed that it's taking so long. My personal life is mine to keep personal, much of it is things I wouldn't want to share with my advisor (I told him about some "health problems" that have now been straightened out) or committee, yet the past two years have strongly affected my performance. Uhh...where was I?

Yes, so now I am just desperate to finish and constantly trying to de-fang this whole thing. I totally hate my project and feel little to no passion for what I have been doing. A friend of mine once told me to go with that; instead of waiting to feel inspired, to just let yourself feel so pissed off that you want to be done. And I am. I really am. I'm also verrry self-involved and cranky. So this is how my "M and E in Team" is playing out:

1) I don't care about meeting the new grad students. Yes, you are nice people, I have been in your shoes before and will be again. But I don't care about you. I won't be here past December and I'm not interested in making new friends. Plus, they all come in starry-eyed and Pollyanningly say "Iiiiii won't be here forever. Iiiii am going to finish in two years." Whatever. Just you wait. This is an overwhelmingly fieldwork-based department; the average is 2.5-3 years, and those people who take longer are busting their asses just as much as you plan to.

2) I am working at *large retail chain* and trying to help support our little family. Therefore, I am not always available to go to the department seminar and do not appreciate snarky e-mails from program head that "only 12 of our 40 students came to the seminar." I consistently attended seminar for 3 years. Bite me.

3) Nor do I appreciate, upon telling people where I work, getting told, "Well, do what you have to." BTW, it tends to be faculty who do that. Are you that out of touch?? Some of us don't have tenure! My job gives its employees full benefits for working 20+ hours a week. Yes, health care for working 20 hours a week. I'd like to point out that as a TA, I didn't earn any social security credits, definately no 403(b) options, and the university fees and mandated health insurance cost us 1/3 of our stipend a year.

3) I am working at a job where I make $1 dollar more an hour than a job I had as a college freshman over 10 years ago. Except now I have 1.75 more degrees. Yes, I'm lucky to have a job of any kind, the economy, blah blah blah. It still stings when you have $60,000 in student loan debt.

4) Competitive lab mate does not want anyone to finish before her. The next time she tries to pry out exactly how far along I am in writing, I might very well turn around and fart in her face.

I think I'm going to enjoy my membership in Team M-E. Being the pissed off founding member has gotten me to finish a thesis chapter, which I had put on hold all summer. If inspiration is not your style, I highly recommend starting an M-E franchise!