It’s Friday: “It’s raining; it’s pouring. The old man is snoring. He went to bed and bumped his head, And he wouldn’t get up in the morning.” Nursery rhymes are kinda fucked, right?

Doughnut is a magical word on Friday.

You know what’s hard? Food. This morning I had to choose between a chocolate doughnut and a bagel smeared with cream cheese. Last night I had to choose between grilled cheese, a hot dog with mustard only, or a hamburger with cold cheese. 

Food is hard. I like food. I have a hard time figuring out which food tastes good together, which food should not go together, which food I should really not eat regularly. Like french fries. 

People keep asking me if I can handle this beginning of semester craziness. So far, the beginning of the semester, for me, is only noticeable from the parking lot that’s full by 7:55 and the few extra bodies I see during my walk up to my office. It means I have a few additional emails throughout the day, and of course, it means I have to share my office space with a student who has no idea what questions they should be asking. How do you know if you don’t know?

I don’t know what my colleagues think I’ve been doing the past two years in grad school. I suspect they think I loitered around campus with my untrendy backpack and eagerly responded to my professors’ queries with big, round eyes and got drunk off cheap liquor with my friends on Fridays. 

How far that delusion is from my 7a-12a days–grabbing breakfast, packing my lunch, packing in on the MTD bus [like sardines], listening to the grievances of 8 students in a 4 hour time period only to push through the masses of students to rush to the neighboring quad (which was a 10 minute walk. here, I can leave my office 4 minutes before a meeting and still be on time to my meeting. it blows my mind. this campus is dime-sized. although according to the american wisconsin students i spoke with last night, being on time is actually late. wha?) where I would advise another 8 students about international studying in a 2 hour time period, to a 3 hour class where I ate my lunch and checked my email and tried not to argue with my classmates who sometimes knew a lot but most of the time maybe didn’t express it very well. Then I would shuffle along for another 10 or 15 minutes back to the gym where I would sweat it out and then traverse another 10 minutes to the bus stop where I would review the day during the 25 minute ride– to home, to a bad dinner, to the library or to the couch where I would read or write for the next class and try not to fall asleep. (I did a lot of walking, didn’t I.)

Yes, compared to past semesters, this beginning is bliss. And I don’t want to express that to my colleagues who may genuinely be busier or have a different schedule or just not handle stress well. In the morning, I get to sit idly in my office and slurp my tea. Grad school is mostly a test of your endurance, will power, and sanity. Working in study abroad is a test of my compassion, tact, empathy, and common sense. 

I work with a bunch of women (does the race or age matter? I don’t know; I’ve never worked with so many of this type before. my grad student brain is still kicking. identity, background, context=cause? correlation?) and they keep apologizing to me if they think we’ve had a rude, brusque, or unpleasant interaction–whether that is in person, verbally, or electronically. Dudes, let’s all be badasses. I’ll be a badass and do my job; and you be a badass and do your job. And guess what? Probably only awesomeness will result. Chill. If we were a bunch of males with bad haircuts and khakis with belts and collared shirts, we wouldn’t waste our time apologizing to one another for perceived or real slights. Let’s keep it that way. (gender stereotypes, gender roles: i shake my fist at you)



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