Wednesday, October 20, 2010


If you notice a lackluster tone in this particular blog post's title, you have accurately perceived my current mental state.

Blerg. Blerg, blerg, blerg.

Maybe the constant heat's beginning to wear on me. (One 100 degree day last week, and currently high 80s are passing for "cool.")

Maybe it's the fact that my immune system is taking it's regular mid-semester hit, complete with stomach ache, sniffles, sore throat, and a general malaise that makes me all-around apathetic.

At any rate, "blerg" has been the word of the last two weeks around here.

I think a large part of the "blerg" is the effect of the natural equalization that takes place when you join a new circle of colleagues. Coming in as a beginning PhD student from a smaller school into a program such as this makes me realize just how far I still have to go. My current Shakespeare class is very theory-heavy with all the big-hitters: Lacan, Zizek, Marx, Derrida, etc. I've had the most perfunctory exposure to these theorists. I know the big ideas, but they're buried under the haze of the remainder of my MA since the only theory class I took was during my first semester in grad school. I always feel like I'm one step behind everyone else. A recent beer outing with some of the more advanced PhD students in the same class revealed that they feel the same way, but I'm dubious. The class dynamics are different, and I'm still negotiating how to make comments and ask questions. It seems that the strongest students here are the ones who speak infrequently, but make more compelling statements when they do.

Furthermore, it seems my theoretical background in New Historicism is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. It's no longer "sexy," I've been informed. (I always laugh when this adjective is used in conjunction with humanities studies.) I didn't think I'd have to struggle with relevance so soon, but there you go.

Blerg. Blerg, blerg, blerg.

I'm anxiously awaiting the clean slate of the spring semester. I feel tired and a little demoralized right now. I find myself suffering from an acute case of "country bumpkin" syndrome. Joe assures me that everyone probably starts out this way at the beginning of their PhD, and that eventually I'll be one of the class leaders, and everything will be sunshine and puppy dogs. I'll figure out an angle of research that matches my interests and the needs of the job market. I'll start feeling smart and academically adequate again.

Here's hoping.