It has been 16 days; more than two weeks of long, mildly stressful but altogether intriguing days since anything has graced this blog. Although it is still relatively early in my first semester of post-graduate study, it is abundantly obvious that the nature of the game is much, much different than that of my recently completed undergraduate coursework. That the level of intensity would be turned up a notch or several is not in and of itself surprising, but the process of getting acclimated has been. But I don’t really want to get into the trials and tribulations of all that - I refuse to risk sounding ungrateful. The point is that in all this dizzying wonderment, my time for activities such as writing these blog posts has become scarce indeed.
Part of my curriculum involves not only my role as a student, but also that of an instructor. I hold the paid (barely) position of Graduate Assistant; I am a “GA.” I am employed by, and a student in the same institution. Teaching isn’t a required part of my curriculum, but it is highly recommended since my concentration is organizational and instructional communications. I teach the discussion portion of an upper-division communications studies class - COMS 103. I work under a professor who teaches the lecture portion and guides a team of GAs in the several discussion sections. It is a speech class oriented towards business students and, as one would expect, it is populated primarily by business majors.
After two semesters as a GA, I can apply for a much better paying Teaching Associate (“TA”) position. In addition to a pay level that has a little substance to it, a TA is the teacher of record for his or her class - two per semester for up to two years, or four semesters. It is experience that will be invaluable to my marketability after graduation. But my first semester as a TA is still a long way away. First I have to get through my first two semesters of grad school - a task that will test me like never before.
It is interesting, however, that looking at this seemingly insurmountable goal is not an unfamiliar position for me. Indeed, I have been here before, recently and repeatedly. And after looking back just briefly, I come away with an unavoidable epiphany. Every goal completed along the way - as hard and unrealistic as it appeared at the time - would be easily accomplished today. In other words, to go back and complete my bachelor’s degree again, or another one for that matter, would elicit only complete confidence in my ability to do it and do it well. Experience, it would appear, has provided me with all the confidence I need.
Although the path I am now traveling is significantly different from any I’ve followed before, the déjà vu-like feelings directly parallel those I have experienced in other situations - both of my choosing and not. Experience tells me that the path will indeed be long and arduous. But it also tells me that nothing is insurmountable and that taken a day at a time, it is not at all overwhelming. True, some things will have to change and my commitment will have to be strong, but it is also true that it is within my power to do this.
Blog author’s note: The following has nothing to do with the preceding, I just need to get it out there.
In the last two or so weeks, much has happened nationally on Wall Street, in Washington D.C. and in this historic race to the Whitehouse. Although I would like nothing more than take the time to write an analysis of what I think has happened, I can’t and won’t. Can’t because I simply don’t have the time to absorb it all, do the research and put together the words necessary to convey my opinion in a clear and concise manner. Won’t because I can’t and because there is already so much commentary available - much of which reflects my own views.
I will say this: It is important that we as Americans and world citizens pay attention. Close attention. Read beyond the rhetoric, listen to the liberal media; listen to the conservative media… there is no “unbiased” media. If you want to know the truth, you’ll have to decipher it yourself - and that takes Maureen Dowd and George Will. Listen to Rush Limbaugh, watch MSNBC, take what you believe to be unbiased and pick a source that you believe to be slanted and pay attention to them both. Here is a little hint: if you can’t think of a news organization that you think is left of where you are, you need to consider those to the right. And if all you can think of are organizations that are to the left of Fox News, then you should listen to them.
It is not an attempt to convert one side to the other; it is to try to understand where the other side is coming from. Look at it this way - it can’t hurt and it might give you insight to be open to compromise or at least to be able to create a more effective battle plan. If you don't know their arguments, how can you effectively argue against them? If we only listen to who we agree with, we get the kind of extreme partisanship that has contributed to or created so many of the problems we are now faced with.