Seeking An Alternative to Happy Hour

Week 1 of 2014 Winter Term

Over the winter break I drank alcohol with regularity. A beer or two on most days when I was just hanging out at my partners’ parents’ place reading Atwood, with several more on my birthday, Christmas, New Years and at parties where it was just there for the taking. Rarely did I ever get drunk, myself considering the drinking that I did to only be in the spirit of imbibing in Texas brews while I was there. Somewhere towards the end of my trip I made the decision to quit drinking for at least a month, starting on the New Year, mainly because I wanted to practice greater self-denial i.e. I really like beer, so I should not have beer with high frequency BECAUSE I really like it.

At my partner’s friend’s on the last day in December I downed a beer as we counted down to midnight. And although we went to a party that went until 3 am, that was the last of it for me. Continue reading “Seeking An Alternative to Happy Hour”


Cancelled On Account of Snow

Week Ten of Grad School and Teaching Comp

Damn. damn. damn. So as I was going to bed last night, waiting for the heat to kick in enough to lull me to bed I thought about all the things I didn’t end up doing during the day thanks to all the time the snow took up. Among those things were my plan to start responding and grading my LAST batch of WR121 papers, work on my final Teaching of Writing Essay, and meeting up with a friend for end-of-term festivities. It was right then that I recalled the most important thing I forgot to do- post my final blog about my first term of grad school and teaching comp.

However, I figured I’d get it done on the bus to Portland early this morning and have it posted while waiting for my transfer to Spokane, WA to meet my partner and semi-begin our break (there are after all, final papers to submit and those pesky papers to grade). FATE had other plans for me though, and my bus was cancelled. Rather than sulk for the majority of the day, I lugged my suitcase through the snow to the Beanery on 2nd where I arrived slightly before any of the employees. A quiche and half a cup of coffee later though, the Christmas music ain’t hurting either, I’m faring better and ready to get some shit done so that attempt no. 2 to get to Spokane gets here as fast as possible.

Snow day

Continue reading “Cancelled On Account of Snow”

Darkest Before the Unit 3’s Are Due

Week 9 of Grad School and Teaching Comp

Today’s dispatch comes all the way from a suburb outside of Seattle, WA where I arrived at Wednesday night following an eight-hour bus ride. At the moment, my partner is showering prior to our double date, so I’m taking the opportunity to write what may be my penultimate post for this term. Full of turkey and pie, it’s hard to grasp that four hours away awaits the misery of the final week of grad school. Continue reading “Darkest Before the Unit 3’s Are Due”

It Came From Outta Nowhere

Week 8 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp


            Today I bid thee hello from my cozy bedroom in Spring Creek, which is now Belizean flag free for a fantastic reason, which I shall reveal in our next installment. Now though, there be lukewarm tea within arm’s reach, favorite books, painkillers for the achy back and a new winter blanket on my bed that I have a date with after my date with Netflix and an egg sandwich (what can I say, I’m a playa). It’s strange to be so comfortable right now only forty-eight hours after one of the most stressful days of the quarter so far. And like most tales of grad school stress, this one stars procrastination.

            See it went like this. Teacher assigns a paper, asks us to turn in a proposal, returns proposal with tips on where to look for sources or how to increase topic specificity, man reads tips, man puts little star to mark email important in Gmail, feels really good about assignment, man acquires sources for paper, man scan sources, man gets dinner, and then man comes back almost two weeks later surprised that a draft of the lit review is due in two days. A real cliché this one. Continue reading “It Came From Outta Nowhere”

The Coffee is Almost Done And My Weekend Alcohol Budget is Gone

Week 7 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp

I made it once again to another Friday, but this time instead of being in my partner’s office over in Spokane, I’m at my own and trying to finish this by five pm before the construction workers begin installing the long-delayed floors.  Remaining here past 5 would possibly trap me for the weekend on the 3rd story of Moreland Hall with nothing to eat but the remnants of the refried beans I couldn’t fit in my belly earlier and bits of burnt cookie from a debacle involving a poet, a microwave and Michael Jackson. Continue reading “The Coffee is Almost Done And My Weekend Alcohol Budget is Gone”

Once Upon A Time An Inept Teacher Taught A Class

Week 6 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp

Today, Friday November 8, 2013, I’m writing this from my partner’s cubicle over at EWU’s Cheney, WA campus while she’s at her practicum class along with the rest of first year comp GTA’s. It’s colder here than it normally is in Corvallis, and the heat in here is lulling me to sleep while the loud conversation between the office’s administrative staff keeps me alert to the fact that I am not alone. Since I am in Washington, I asked a fellow 1st year GTA to cover my 11 am comp class today, to which he kindly accepted. A little after noon I receive an email from him that ended with the following paragraph:

“They[my students] are more than confused about Unit 2. I told them think of it as a story of their research processes. Hopefully this aligns with your approach.” Continue reading “Once Upon A Time An Inept Teacher Taught A Class”

Take A Shot Every Time A Student Misspells Their Own Name

Week 5 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp

The overriding feeling of my week has been, in the wise words of Insepctor Gadget “Yowza.” The adrenaline rush of starting grad school has started to dissipate and I’m rationing the reserves for the last two weeks of the fall quarter.

My compulsion to work hard for a large portion of the day occasionally waned and the tug of lethargy calls to me. Come on, man, read that AV Club article, says the laziness imp from its perch not on my shoulder, but sitting at the bridge of my nose, Reading is reading, it coaxes me. And I consider listening to it before I pick it up by its slimy wings and drop it into the filing cabinet next to my office desk where it bangs until it falls silent within a few minutes (it’s a huge proponent of sleeping twelve hours a day, excluding siesta time). Continue reading “Take A Shot Every Time A Student Misspells Their Own Name”

You Get A Conference, You Get A Conference, And Yes, Even You

Week 4 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp

It is 3:30 pm on Friday and I am at my office in Moreland Hall. In an attempt to not be crushed by readings on the weekend, I keep myself metaphorically shackled to this building a few hours at a time throughout the week until my locks are broken by at 5 pm each day. So far, for the most part, it’s led me to be far more productive than I have been in the past and it’s nice to be able to go home at the end of the day and attend to things to my leisure.

Today also marks the end of conferences for WR121’s 1st drafts and I feel pretty good about how it went. It is an exhausting endeavor though and has left me wanting to do anything but think of the stack of revised drafts students will be submitting on Monday.

It feels good to recall the ease with which students spoke to me during conferences, their frankness about the effort (or lack thereof) they put into their draft, their thoughts about the class on writing and how they shared small details of their lives with me that helped define them as people who just happened to be my students than seeing them exclusively as these students whose papers often carry a multitude of overlooked missteps or whose faces look at me with occasional indifference when I make the umpteenth obscure reference in class. Continue reading “You Get A Conference, You Get A Conference, And Yes, Even You”

Week 3 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp

[Houston friend Jaylotus just switched over to using his given name as his music moniker. Celebrate with me by listening to the rerechristened Philippe Edison]

I think it’d be difficult to top my daily ride to and from campus wherein I see a myriad of maple trees all in different states of changing from green to yellow to orange then red and soon to a bareness that’ll function as harbinger for winter. WR 121 is going well despite frequent absences from students. I am sometimes uncertain as to whether I should follow up with the ones who are absent more frequently, but I hope that my tri-weekly emails make it clear that they should be in class more often than not.

There are three books that the students should be reading regularly plus a reference book that could be useful if they, you know, referenced it. Additionally there are three assignments in the class that the students are meant to complete within the ten weeks of the quarter with each tackling entirely different aspects of writing (A synthesis essay followed by a meta-research paper and then an argumentative paper about the topic of their second paper). With all that going on, I’m uncertain as to how much time to give each thing on a class by class basis, but after discussions with several of the Comp Assistants and the program director I’ve decided to give myself a break on trying to sort it all out immediately. Continue reading “Week 3 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp”

Week 2 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp

I am a big fan of montages in movies. Some say that they’re a poor way to show a person’s developmental progress, but I think they’re great at making the tedium of getting better at a skill look interesting. As a recovering lethargic person, sometimes I wish this part of graduate school could be a montage. I already have a few of the shots in mind.

Continue reading “Week 2 of Graduate School and Teaching Comp”