I’m back in school and it feels as if I never left. It’s all too familiar – that nagging sense that I should be reading, writing, editing, reviewing something. I go out to parties and I feel deadlines creeping up on me like unwanted advances from guys without all their teeth. Everywhere I go, I feel menaced. I feel watched – watched by the God of graduate school guilt. He is not a merciful God, especially when He doesn’t actually listen to my suggestions for ways to shut down the city so that I have more time to study for a final.
A friend of mine once said it’s only when faced with school that we wish ourselves bodily harm. How many distant relatives have we wished hospitalized so that we’d be excused from taking exams? How many times have I said, “just shoot me now” and meant it? Who needs both kidneys anyway?
So, why am I back in school? After all, this isn’t undergrad. Nobody made me go. I don’t need this diploma. I have no idea what I was thinking when I registered for this distance learning course. Well, that’s kind of a lie. I thought things like: This is a good idea. It’s cheaper than in the U.S. You can get global exposure. You can manage this while having a full-time job. I didn’t think things like: You have a full-time job, fullll tiiimmeee. Under eye bags are irreversible. You stopped owning notecards three years ago. You’re talking about an Indian university (think of any HBCU and make the administration 5 times less responsive to your needs). And now that I’m turning in assignments, and wracking my brain for a paper proposal and freaking out that I’ll actually have to take exams – I’m thinking that now might be a good time to pretend like I broke my arm.
Do I really want a PhD after all? If I do, then I can’t do it while working – that’s just a death wish. Right? But I can’t be broke again either. Me and myself (the sane, objective me in the third person) we decided that being broke was no longer an option. Is higher education a good reason to go back on that notion?
Do I have to pretend that I’m smart now? I really don’t want to have to eat, sleep, and breathe my studies. People will ask me cultural questions over dinner and it’ll be embarrassing when I don’t answer with anything that they couldn’t find on wikipedia. I tend to act like a petulant child when asked to prove my knowledge in public settings – I throw my fork on the floor and pretend like its their job to pick it up. And then I throw up on their head when they bend down to retrieve the fork. (I was a precocious 3-year-old) I don’t like being put on the spot, and I don’t like being doubted – especially in public. But isn’t that what getting a PhD is? Always being asked to prove, in a very Freudian way, that my obelisk is brainier than my contemporary’s.
I digress. In the making of this blog post, I have successfully procrastinated yet one more hour. I could have read about the Indian Diaspora, or drafted my paper synopsis, or practiced my Indian head bobble. But, instead I chose to ponder the repercussions of a PhD program for which I have not yet applied. This, my friends, is the delirium of being an adult student. My quest for knowledge has shredded my logical decision-making capabilities and stressed me to the extent of sheer stupidity. And, with that, I’m taking a nap.
*drops my No. 2 pencil and walks out of home office*