02 December 2006

Veeder strikes back

When i started grad school last fall, i briefly turned over a new leaf, namely, that i would be a better and more contientious (i cannot for the life of me spell this word) student. I thought that i had been exceedingly lucky in duping UChicago into the idea that i was a real and valid student and that the only way not to let the secret out was to actually act as if i were a totally for real student.

Alas, at the end of the first quarter at Chicago, Professor Veeder hit me with the words, "if you won't have the final paper done by the due date you can drop it off at my home." This disastrous line opened the door for the habit i'd gotten into late in my undergrad... that of 'testing limits'. Seeing just how late "late" actually was. At first it was just minutes or an hour that i messed with... A professor'd say "due @ 5pm", i'd walk in at 5:15 and drop it off... but soon it became days and weeks that i was messing with. Fortunately when Veeder said this during that first quarter, i somewhat ignored it and handed in my Gothic paper almost on time, but with other classes i was not so careful. My zombie paper for Cults of Personality became an "idea for a paper" that, true enough, eventually became a thesis, but i did not hand it in that winter...

And now, as i implied earlier, Veeder has struck again... He's kindly agreed to write me a letter, and in an email requesting more information (read reminder) on who i actually was, he told me that PhD application due dates are actually bluffs. Which i read, again, not as a simple statement, but as some sort of challenge. Let's see when i absolutely cannot get into Cadwallada, and when i might have... (anyone know what Cadwallada is? not sure of the spelling... but it strikes me as a fictional university i know from somewhere)

I used to be so into due dates. I remember when the Nottingham program chose not to take me along, part of what so pissed me off was the fact that Perkins had handed his application in late, but was still chosen over me. In the end, i think, all worked out as it needed to, but at the time that was a real problem for me.

But somewhere along the way, i found deadlines to be more schedules to keep someone else in line and not for me. Yet on Monday, i will find myself in front of a class of college kids, taking a class on 'paper-writing' and i will be expected to teach them how to write a paper in a timely manner. Me, who still has application essays to write, with the due dates fast approaching... I will tell them to hand stuff in on time.... or else? Or else what, they may ask... Or else they'll turn out to be a real burn out like me, i suppose...

3 comments:

jenny said...

hope you had a great first day, professor joel. i trust you made it a "syllabus day", and not a "here's actual work to do, because i'm trying to be a hardass" day...

seeger said...

Hey thank you... My first day went ok... (and yes, no hardass here)

noweverybody said...

I'm so jealous. Community colleges never call me back. So now I work at TJ's.