Tuesday, May 3, 2011

R: Run-On Sentence

Often encountered while grading student assignments, the run-on sentence is a construct in which a series of thoughts, actions, or expressions are combined into a single mental breath which extends beyond the normal confines of an old-school sentence voyaging into the realm of new-age writing, similar in many ways to the difference between old-school math and new-age math, but never coming to a meaningful point or conclusion, instead deciding to carry on (not "carrying on" like at a party) endlessly, often being repetitive in that new new-age sense, and ultimately leaving the reader turned around, amused, confused, and abused.

Example: Todd kicked the ball.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

E: Email-fail

When the head of the graduate division sends out an email to the other professors telling them to grade their grad students' seminar papers more harshly because they're handing out too many A's and B's, but the email is accidentally sent to all the grad students instead.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

H: Hideout

Every grad student has one. It's a place where you can hide from the world and work on your dissertation without the distraction of internet access. This hideout can be a desk on the second floor of the library, a monkish cubicle, a hole in a tree (from which you banished an angry squirrel), etc.

E: E-Anxiety

The overwhelming feeling a graduate student experiences when she has avoided her adviser for several months and anticipates that any minute, the "where's your chapter?" email will arrive in her inbox. This makes checking email all the more dreadful, but no less tempting to do at least 6-20 times a day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

O: Office hours

When your students have a paper due in two days:
  • they're lined up outside your door
  • they look like they're drinking in your suggestions
  • they bring in scraps of notes or random pieces of paper that they want you to look over
When your students don't have a paper due:
  • [sound of crickets chirping]

L: Library books

When you're writing your thesis/dissertation, you have about 500 of them sitting on your shelves, your floor, in your bathtub, on your dresser, and probably in your mailbox (basically, wherever they'll fit). The people at the circulation desk know you by name and they groan when they see you coming, since you'll probably be bringing them yet another ancient, musty book that you found aaalllllllll the way in the back on the ninth floor that no one's checked out for at least a hundred years. Because of that, the book won't have one of those nifty, modern barcode stickers on it, so the dude will have to hunt up some barcode stickers, enter all this info into the computer, and half an hour later, with twenty people in line behind you by now, you're free to go.

P: Photocopier

That god-forsaken piece of crap that you have to use to produce reams and reams of handouts that you give to your students, and which they promptly throw away. And what are these photocopiers--holdovers from the Stone Age? Why is it (you constantly ask yourself) that I've had to become an expert in taking apart these machines, fixing the problem (paper jam, etc.), and then putting them back together again? Why didn't I just become a mechanic or an engineer and get a well-paying job?