It’s Not a Democracy…

Posted: January 30, 2011 in anxiety, Uncategorized

Sometimes you just need to rant about things. Since my skin picking and depression are largely anxiety driven, I feel like it’s appropriate to examine some situations (aside from those arising from my family) that make me anxious. Today, I’d like to bitch about my department.

When I started grad school four years ago, I was evidently laboring under the delusion that people who enroll in such things are generally mature, responsible adults who love learning and are driven to expand their horizons. To be fair, I’ve met some of my best and closest friends in this program, and I’m grateful for them. They mean the world to me. But it gets to me how inconsiderate, rude, closed-minded, selfish, irrational, and down right stupid some of the people in my department are. I know for a fact that people in my program have been caught cheating on assignments, yet absolutely nothing has been done to punish or reprimand them. This angers me, because they are getting the same degree I am, and essentially I’m getting a degree from an institution that now has a reputation for letting these people through.

There’s another individual in my program who is earning a PhD, yet cannot spell or formulate complete sentences to save their life. I get it…not everyone can be a master of English…but you’re getting a doctorate! If you can’t express yourself by this stage in life, maybe you’re not in the correct profession.

I really do try my hardest to stay out of the drama in my department. This largely means not attending social functions, which typically devolve into drama after several rounds of alcohol and the arrival of multiple strong personalities. This week, however, the drama centers around me, so it’s unavoidable, and this pisses me off.

I recently got moved into a new office. I didn’t ask for it – I was quite happy in my old office space. But I’ve been working as a research assistant for someone very high up in the department who has requested extra office space for his assistant. Several other students in my department have vocally expressed their discontent at my assignment in the past. Am I supposed to feel bad for doing a good enough job that I’ve been requested by this professor? I think not. Some students in my department beg to differ, and have expressed their discontent that I “get” this assignment. Actually, I’ve worked hard, and I’ve earned it. It’s apparently too much to ask that these people focus on doing a good job at their own work instead of being jealous over mine.

Now, because I’ve been moved into a new office, the complaining has started again. But now it’s moved beyond simple griping to the next stage, which involves the grad student association for my department holding a meeting to discuss the “issue of grad student offices.” Hypothetically all grad students are supposed to attend these things, but I fail to see how I’m supposed to feel “welcome” to walk into a meeting that will involve everyone attacking me personally in one way or another. Yes, I know I’m  hypersensitive to these things, but I think most people would be at least a little put off by the situation.

The bottom line is it’s not a democracy: it doesn’t matter what everyone thinks is “fair.” The professor gets to select his assistant, and I’ve worked hard to live up to his expectations. Not everyone will get to work for him. I won’t ever get the same grants, scholarships, conference opportunities, publishing offers, or fellowships that many of the other students in my department are going to get. Maybe in the strictest sense of the word it’s “not fair,” but LIFE isn’t fair. My childhood more than proves that. Most of these people have had many more opportunities than I would have ever dreamed about. I’ve had to fight for EVERYTHING, and it pisses me off that people can be so petty and immature. You’re grad students: you’re getting doctorates. Stop acting like you’re five.

Or, to put it another way: build a bridge and get over it. Maybe try focusing on your own work for a change and see how that goes..

  1. whiterabbit says:

    RE: nothing being done about the cheating, manipulating, bitching, moaning five year olds who aren’t being disciplined…

    bare with me here… spankings stop around 8. Time outs end at maybe 10 (at home) and kindergarten for the classroom. 1st grade, you get to sit with the yard duty for recess. after that, you get demerits, trips to the principals office, parents called, detention, suspension, etc until the end of High School. In college, you can do whatever you want, just dont get caught or you lose your scholarships, your acceptance at whatever institution your attending, could potentially be banned from the institutions entire organization/ program/ whatever, or serve jail time. (hurray for plagiarism).

    I think by the time you hit the mecca of grad school, you’ve been punished as far as is possible, some self inflicted (your in grad school), again to just short of being banned from the system for plagiarism or jail time. You are now responsible for yourself. No passing the buck from teacher to parent. The fact that we are now totally responsible for our own futures is cause for celebration and mass hysteria.

    Now, to my point… The good news: You are your own master. Congratulate yourself. You are being judged on your own merit, your own hard work, and are being offered opportunities based on your abilities and yours alone. The Bad news… so are “they”.

    What can you do about it now? Nothing. What can you do about it later? Whatever you want. You will be sitting somewhere enjoying the dream job you earned, doing whatever it is you said you wanted to do in 5/10/20 years, watching these petty cheaters on the news after they swindle some poor suckers money away AND GOT CAUGHT. Eventually, someone will do something… (I had a great example of some high level douche bag, but doing more research on him only yielded the fact that he is most definitely too much of an asshole to mention by name. *cough Bernard cough Madoff*) Now granted, sometimes there is no punishment great enough to suit the crime, but the mighty have far to fall.

    As far as a non existent professor goes, the farther you are willing to reach for something, the better the stretch. Now, that may sound a little cheap, but exercise in any capacity, be it physical or mental, is just practice for being the best you you can be. Your ability to take initiative may become one of your strongest assets.

    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you land among the stars.

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