Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The First Day of School: Graduate Edition

The movie, Inception, clearly explains that you can know you're in the middle of a dream when you realize you don't know how you got where you are.  Imagine my surprise to wake up in the middle of a nightmare only to discover that I not only knew how I got there, but I could detail every step that brought me to this particular moment in time.

I looked around the room trying to determine how I could avoid talking in a group of 12 people who have all committed themselves to the study of Holocaust literature for the next three months.  Then, my professor asked all of us to introduce ourselves, our areas of study and our interest in this course.

The six people before me were all doctoral students studying something that sounded suspiciously like "long drawn out elaborate explanation of literature that clearly means I haven't been out in the general public for the last five years and that includes dating" but took approximately 10 minutes apiece to explain.

Then there was me.

*Cue hillbilly dumbass voice*  "Duher.  Ima just startin' my mas-terz dee-gree here.  Me teaches high schoolers.  Teeheehee.  I don't know nothing bout this here Holocaust mumbo jumbo, but I's sure gonna try ter read these here books and do me a bit of learnin'.  Ya'll sure are givin' a lot to chaw on."

Yes.  It was that bad.

Add to it the fact that I am one of TWO (count 'em...TWO) master's degree students in this course.  Every single other person is in a doctoral program.  And I'm the only student who hasn't spent consecutive years working on a graduate degree.

Normally, a 25 page research paper wouldn't make me hyperventilate.  But it's been more than 4 years since I've written one.  Plus, I understood those topics.  I currently don't even know what to make of the requirements for this particular research paper, and since everyone else nodded their heads in recognition?  I'm officially the only podunk idiot in the room.  I'm praying to the Lord Jesus that the next class will offer some clarification.

The professor assured us that we all have something to learn from each other.  He assured us anything we can share during oral presentations would be valuable.  (He also graciously gave me an oral presentation I think I may actually do well.  Kind man.  Generous man.  Man who must realize I haven't been in school for a while.  Thank God for Elie Wiesel.)  But I currently sincerely doubt my ability to share anything with these people aside from a severely stunted intellect that may have only existed in my dreams anyway.

But since I used a tuition waiver to take this class, I shouldn't back out.

Oh, and I'm not a quitter.

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