Posted by: Nathan | September 28, 2006

So, How’s Grad School?

This is the question that I think most of you are wondering about if I haven’t talked to you about it yet. And if I haven’t really chatted with you about grad school yet, don’t worry: I love you. I’m just really busy.

So as most of you all know, I’m here in Colorado attending the University of Denver, and I’ve had about two weeks in classes thus far. Here are some quick thoughts:

1. It’s hard. No, this didn’t surprise me, but there’s something different about telling yourself that you’re going to have to read like crazy and actually reading like crazy. The expectations here are on a much higher level — if I don’t understand something, it’s my responsibility to find out what it is and understand it going forward. People, books, and concepts are dropped without any explanation (usually), and some of them are foreign to me.

2. My classmates know a lot more than me. This isn’t surprising either considering that most of them are getting their Ph.D. and I’m a firt-year M.A. student. Some of them have four years of graduate work more than me. That’s a lot of knowledge.

3. Pedantry is running wild. This is truly a concern. Literature is having a hard enough time relating to a less intellectual public or even to other branches of the Academy; I’m convinced that snobbery plays a big part here, and some of my classmates aren’t making me optimistic that this will change soon. Lord willing, I won’t succumb to this pitfall of gaining so much literary knowledge as to think I’m somehow better than others.

4. Jury’s still out on DU. Under no foreseeable circumstance will I abandon DU during my quest for my M.A.; however, I’m not convinced I’ll get my Doctorate here or even that I want to. We’ll see.

The expectations are higher and the workload is greater, but I did want a challenge*. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for me as I adjust and really get into the coursework. For the interested, my two classes now are Modernism and 18th Century Literature: The Orient. I have a lot of other literary concerns, but I’ll shelve them for now.

*Are you asking for a CHALLENGE?!!

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Responses

  1. Best wishes, Sir. Give ’em heck! And thanks for expanding my arsenal of words related to “pedantic”. I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee yet and already I feel smarter.

  2. Glad to hear that things are going well. You’re spot on with your observations. Don’t worry…pedantry isn’t exclusive to literary academics.


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