Last Friday, I attended a networking session for postgraduate students at my college. Among the people I met, I bonded most with the students from Arts History, as their class is like ours, newly setup. Their lessons are held three nights a week versus my two, unless there is a visiting professor, then it could be four nights. It was comforting hearing them lament about their overwhelming workload and how academic papers had to be read a few times and even then, one might still not understand it. I am sure they shared the same sentiments when we told them we too are struggling.
Struggling is an understatement. My classmate described the situation as appearing calm above water and threading furiously under. Our group chat consists of reminders, encouragements and self doubts. There’s a ticking clock every week for the essays submission and reading list.
Just this week, I have to juggle to read the following :
Three chapters of Burrowway.
Part III of Miller and Paola, consisting of five chapters, which I am still not done.
Four chapters from Gutkind on Framing and lede and leads.
We are encouraged to keep reading fiction and on my bed side, neglected after chapter one, is a romance novel so sad it made my professor cried. It’s not been abandoned… Yet.
As if these are not enough, my teacher highly recommends audio books, for the times when your hands are not available. So in my car, I listen to James Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist as a Young Boy.
These excludes the academic papers and supplementary readings that we received regularly just before or after a lecture.
As if he wanted to make sure we read our texts, we were given a surprise short quiz in the second week. That certainly spurred me to be vigilant.
I asked a classmate who works full time how she cope, and she said she chooses her reading, and not read everything.
I am still trying to balance my load unsuccessfully. I read, with my unwritten essay niggling at the back of my mind, and the opposite occurs when I write.
My professor is strict. He tells us unless we have an organ hanging outside our body, we’re not allowed to skip class. In the review of our essays, he is unforgiving, although he does points out the wow moments in it.
And you know what? I never knew a three letter word WOW! can make all that I have written here seems frivolous and trivial. I am really enjoying my class.