Friday, September 9, 2011

"So how's school?"

Hey chimplets,

Yes, I know it's been a long time since my last post.  Unfortunately blogging, among other things, has kind of gotten booted to the bottom of my priority list. 

I shouldn't even be writing this. I should be reading. But I wanted to let you know that I'm still alive, still in school (3 weeks in!), and that things are starting to get a little hairy, as I knew they would. 

I think it's mostly due to the fact that I changed fields between being an undergrad and a grad student--from political science to physical anthropology.  I was told that this transition would be difficult but not impossible.  That it would be a lot of work.  And it is.  It IS difficult and a lot of work.  But I'm going to elaborate on what that means, exactly.

In my case it means an utter information overload.

Which is funny, because as an undergrad, I was often bored and wished my courses were more challenging and rigorous.  Because I had mental energy left over after class, I was proactive and involved in school. I did research, I joined various campus clubs and programs, I attended a lot of events.  Since I almost never felt lost or behind or out of place, I was happy to talk to my professors and raise my hand in class all the time.  I knew the game and the jargon. 

Now, however, I have three classes every Tuesday and Thursday, and by the middle of that second class, my brain is already going numb and asking for rest.  By the end of my third class, I feel almost crazy.  A lot of times I hear the professor talking, and I recognize it as English, but I have no idea what is being said.  It's like being an amateur tennis player who has been drafted to a Super Bowl-winning NFL team.

So my current strategy--right or wrong--is to just be quiet. To not ask questions, but jot them down and look them up privately when I get home. To hang back, lay low, and just observe and absorb, because right now, I don't have anything intelligent to say to anyone.  Raise my hand in class?  Are you shittin' me?  Talk to my professors about the material?  I wouldn't dare.  I need to just watch this game for a while before I jump in and chuck a few passes myself.

There are four (4) research projects I have to design this semester, and I have two big exams this coming week: one for Primate Paleobiology 525, and one for Human Genetics 546.

There was a time when I used to wonder whether I'd get an A or an A- on a test. This time I wonder if I'll even pass.  

There was a time when I knew where to go, what to do, and who to talk to. There was a time when I felt competent and able to make rational, informed decisions.

That time is not now.