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hating grad school


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Sorry...I’m an English scholar. Thus, I’m extremely long-winded.

No need to apologize Kamisha. I'm glad you made a long and detailed post so the OP can see that people here are not also persecuting her. I just want to attest that that's the way her language came off to me as well, so you're definitely not alone in this.

To OP: I think it's good that you get to vent a little bit here, even though not all the replies satisfied you. That may be another thing to think of: when you seek help, do you only want to hear what conforms with your already established opinions and get defensive when people say something you don't like? That would be counterproductive IMO when you want to improve upon yourself and build a thicker skin. I do hope you can find someone at your program to talk to, be it one of your cohort, a student adviser, an administrator, etc., depending on which route you want to take. Leave if need be, but the general opinion is you're having a very good package, so think twice before making that decision. Good luck!

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Are you sure it's not you? I ask because you say you had a crappy life before this. There are people who are just miserable no matter what happens. Are you sure that's not you? Also, are these feeling

I don't really like when people assume they've had the hardest life. I don't know what happened to you and I don't want you to tell me (this isn't a contest), but my parents were both drug addicts who

Wow. Can you tell me what technique of psychoanalysis you guys use to diagnose people with disorders based on a low number of posts on an internet forum? I'd be eternally endeavored to you.     Rea

Pretty simple. You apply for it. You have a finite amount of time (36 months). If you have months remaining, it pays the full cost of tuition, gives you $75 per class for books, and a monthly housing allowance that gets deposited on the first of each month. The housing allowance varies according to location. New York City is $2,800; Miami is $1,900; Seattle is $1,600 etc.

 

Dayum... if only I wasn't morally opposed to being enlisted that'd sound like a great deal.

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Just as an aside, the reason you're paying 2k in the summer is so you maintain a full time registration status. You'll likely be registering for ~3 credits of thesis research. 

 

If you don't maintain full time, year-long registration status, there are pretty serious tax implications, as you aren't considered a full time student. Most schools also require a full time enrollment for you to be considered a student and progress- registering in the summer when you aren't taking "classes" is pretty typical- I don't know any school that doesn't require it.

This makes some sense.

It is illegal for a school to require tuition for nothing. If courses are not offered in the summer, tuition should not be paid. Period. Tuition is the costs of taking classes, not the costs of maintaining a certain status. If they want to charge a fee to maintain admissions status, that would be different. But you can't charge for classes not delivered.

There are no serious tax implications involved in not taking classes in the summer and not maintaining full time status in the summer. The only tax implications I could possibly think of for not taking summer classes is not having that semester's worth of tuition as a deduction on annual taxes.

However, since a school can get in all manner of trouble from the federal government for playing fast and loose with financial thing, I think that either the OP got her wires crossed about having to pay tuition, but not having any classes to take, or the OP needs to drop by the school's finance office before heading over to the ombudsman, or the Department of Education.

The school sounds very strange, the way they do business.

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Raimunda, I too am hating grad school, so I know where you're coming from.  I had a rotten childhood (physically, emotionally and verbally abused) too. People who haven't don't know how it messes with our self-esteem, coping skills, decision-making and God-knows-what-else. We are the result of our past. So we can't just "get over it." Hell, we may not even be able to identify what it is we need to get over. So, good for  you for getting counseling and for taking the risks to go to graduate school in the first place. If you want to get the degree,  then you have to  focus on the end goal. Period. F*ck everybody else. You're not going to have to deal with those assholes after you graduate.

Edited by miss sisyphus
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Hey Raimuda,

 

Graduate school can be trying at times, and the people here have offered you quite a bit of good advice.

 

Some people are mean. You could be working in an office with an asshole coworker just like you have in your current program. I have one member of my cohort who I absolutely cannot stand, who happens to also be in my office. She's rude, pushy, and a complete narcissist. I have decided to cope with this by not giving her a single second of my time. Sure, I'll talk to her if she asks me a question, but I provide no validation when she tells me inappropriate stories about her sex life and I do not seek her out for anything, ever. It actually worked for about a year and she was bearable for the first half of last semester. After she fell off the wagon again, I just stopped dealing with her again. You actually don't really have any obligation to make this girl your friend, so talk to her when you need to and don't when you don't.

 

Regarding funding, I have never heard of a program making you pay in the summer except in the case that you don't finish your thesis in time for spring graduation, then you need to pay for continuous registration because you must be registered in the semester in which you graduate. Are you sure they charge you 2+ grand in the summer for nothing? It might be something to talk with your adviser about because it sounds pretty suspect.

 

While you can't just forget your past, eventually, you will have to overcome it. A lot of us have gotten pretty bad hands in life but found a way to make it work. As part of that, you're going to need to toughen up quite a bit if you want to survive academia, which I assume you do from your listed major. The first article I submitted to a journal had one of the two reviewers attack me (the writer because he did not have my name) personally in many of their comments. It hurt, but I also took it as an opportunity to say that something in my work was causing a problem for this reviewer. If they stumbled over my writing, then perhaps there are some flaws I need to work out before I send this off to the next place. While doing that, I let the comments that made me feel unfit for consuming oxygen roll off my back and produced a much better piece of work because of it. You will get comments from peers and teachers that will offend you. You will have teachers who interrupt you and tell you that you are wrong. You will feel inadequate at some point through your degree.

 

Undergraduate programs give a sense of accomplishment that can be somewhat damaging to prospective grad students' egos. You were probably always the smartest person in the room, but you were also in a room filled with mostly idiots. Now that you are in a graduate program, you are in a room full of fairly smart people, and the expectations have increased significantly. Because of this, graduate school isn't for everyone, but that is a decision you will have to make for yourself.

 

For what it's worth, it sounds like you have a lot you need to figure out. Might I suggest finding other people in a situation similar to you and spend some time finding ways to cope. I honestly did get a sense from your original  post that you were wallowing in your own pity, which can be abrasive, so my best advice would be to be proactive instead of reactive. Seek out the solutions that will get you where you want to go in your own life. None of us can tell you what those are.

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This makes some sense.

It is illegal for a school to require tuition for nothing. If courses are not offered in the summer, tuition should not be paid. Period. Tuition is the costs of taking classes, not the costs of maintaining a certain status. If they want to charge a fee to maintain admissions status, that would be different. But you can't charge for classes not delivered.

There are no serious tax implications involved in not taking classes in the summer and not maintaining full time status in the summer. The only tax implications I could possibly think of for not taking summer classes is not having that semester's worth of tuition as a deduction on annual taxes.

However, since a school can get in all manner of trouble from the federal government for playing fast and loose with financial thing, I think that either the OP got her wires crossed about having to pay tuition, but not having any classes to take, or the OP needs to drop by the school's finance office before heading over to the ombudsman, or the Department of Education.

The school sounds very strange, the way they do business.

 

The tax implications are if you're being paid a summer stipend but are not enrolled as a student. I gathered from the OP that her stipend continues for the summer. IF she's not enrolled as a student, her employment status would change from a student employee (no tax deductions for SS & medicare) to a regular employee, with a corresponding change in taxes. 

 

But yes, my guess is that the OP did not understand "no classes to take", and is thinking that there aren't normal courses offered, but is likely going to be taking a 3 credit thesis course. 

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

Raimunda, I too am hating grad school, so I know where you're coming from.  I had a rotten childhood (physically, emotionally and verbally abused) too. People who haven't don't know how it messes with our self-esteem, coping skills, decision-making and God-knows-what-else. We are the result of our past. So we can't just "get over it." Hell, we may not even be able to identify what it is we need to get over. So, good for  you for getting counseling and for taking the risks to go to graduate school in the first place. If you want to get the degree,  then you have to  focus on the end goal. Period. F*ck everybody else. You're not going to have to deal with those assholes after you graduate.

 

I had a rough upbringing too, if you didn't happen to catch it, and it doesn't "mess with my self-esteem, coping skills, and decision-making". And I am not a "result of my past" and I can just "get over it." So your facts don't apply to all of "us" apparently. My point is, don't use generalizations. It might have messed you up but that doesn't mean everyone who had a rough upbringing has an excuse for being messed up. 

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@Eigen, too lazy to go back and read. But what I remember from reading the thread earlier was that they have to pay tuition in the summer while not receiving a stipend. Correct me if you care more than I do about looking back!

Edited by Meanyus
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Oh, I may have misread then. I thought they were getting a 12mo stipend. 

 

So no tax differences. 

 

Don't know the program, though, I know all grad students at my school register for Thesis research in the summer. 

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OP:

Of course you are entitled to feel however you want to feel.  However, certain feelings are crappier and less useful than others, and so perhaps you should consider that as well.

Just from a first read-through of your post and some of your responses, I have to say that I do get the sense that you have something of a persecution complex - it seems as though there is always someone else to blame for your personal feelings of negativity or problems.  TWO professors are out to get you and are generally unfair; one of your cohort members seems to have some inexplicable and nonsensical vendetta against you; even your psychoanalyst is responsible for your feelings of worthlessness.

I'm not saying this to be a meanie; I'm saying it to point it out.  YES, you ARE largely in control of how you feel, and YES, you can change your own cycle of negative feelings.  You may need help to do so (by seeing a therapist) but you can do it.  You may be suffering from clinical depression or another issue that makes it more difficult to do so, but it's not impossible.

In general, graduate school requires a thick skin and an ability to see the silver linings and take advantage of your strengths.  In that sense, you do, indeed, need to 'get over it.'  And I'm not saying this in the callous sense that you need to forget the past and act like nothing happened - but rather in the real-life sense that you need to harness the resources available to you to marshal your strength and march through difficulties.  That is really the only way that you'll succeed.  If you have an unfair professor or a cohort mate who dislikes you, there is literally nothing you can do about those things.  But what you CAN control is your reaction to them.  If your professors are sexist, the only thing you can do is turn out your best work and hope for the best (unless you think it's impacting your grades in a demonstrable way, in which case you can talk to your DGS or an ombudsperson).  If one of your cohort mates annoys you or is mean to you...stay away from her.  Refuse to engage, or just smile and nod and walk away.

The financial and academic issues are larger ones.  You will need to decide whether it is personally and professionally worth it for you to stay.  It seems like you may be having trouble affording the program, a program that does not have any classes you want.


If you don't maintain full time, year-long registration status, there are pretty serious tax implications, as you aren't considered a full time student. Most schools also require a full time enrollment for you to be considered a student and progress- registering in the summer when you aren't taking "classes" is pretty typical- I don't know any school that doesn't require it. 

My school doesn't.  I've actually never been to a school that required registration during the summer for you to be considered a full-time student.  Even when we're writing a dissertation here, we don't have to register for the summer unless we are planning to defend in that period of time.  I personally think it's weird for a student to have to register and pay over the summer if they aren't completing degree requirements, even if it's just a thesis or practicum or internship.  (I think the rules are a bit different at my uni if you are on a uni-funded fellowship; those students may actually have to register for some kind of research credit over the summer, but in those cases they are getting paid AND the university is paying for the credits.)

I was afraid of that. I have 16 months left of my GI Bill. I figured that should be enough for a 2-year masters program since Fall + Spring + Fall + Spring = 16 months. But I'll most likely have to use it for that first summer as well, so I'll be one semester short. That's even more reason why I'm hoping to get into my top choice (only 1-year) as if there weren't already enough reasons.

You shouldn't if your program has no summer classes.  My husband is on the GI bill right now.  He does not register over the summer, and thus his summers are not counted against his GI Bill months.  He's still considered a full-time student.  He just doesn't get the MHA over the summer, which means he needs to get an internship or job over the summer.  The housing allowace in NYC has gone up, btw - it's a bit over $3200 now.  Sweet deal.

The tax implications are if you're being paid a summer stipend but are not enrolled as a student. I gathered from the OP that her stipend continues for the summer. IF she's not enrolled as a student, her employment status would change from a student employee (no tax deductions for SS & medicare) to a regular employee, with a corresponding change in taxes. 

This is true, actually, but there's not much that you can do about it if your school doesn't offer any summer enrollment options.  Also, I'm willing to bet that in 99% of cases the cost of maintaining a summer registration is more than the extra income taxes that you have to pay because you're a regular employee rather than a student employee.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't really like when people assume they've had the hardest life. I don't know what happened to you and I don't want you to tell me (this isn't a contest), but my parents were both drug addicts who died when I was young and I slept on the New York City trains as a kid.

"It's not a contest, but if it were I would win"

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I had a rough upbringing too, if you didn't happen to catch it, and it doesn't "mess with my self-esteem, coping skills, and decision-making". And I am not a "result of my past" and I can just "get over it." So your facts don't apply to all of "us" apparently. My point is, don't use generalizations. It might have messed you up but that doesn't mean everyone who had a rough upbringing has an excuse for being messed up. 

 

I try not to attack people personally but I had a bad day and I need to work it out so just know that that high horse of yours is actually a donkey and your comments just bring attention to your own lack of sense.   I hope I get banned for this because wow those replies..... lowest low

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There've been a lot of strongly worded posts...I agree with a lot of previous comments directed to the OP, but I also think a gentle tone is called for here, in part because it's kind to go easy on others and in part because it's generally most effective. I hope what I write achieves that gentleness, it is my sincere intention. 

 

To the OP: It is true that many of the people you (or any of us) come into contact with during any given day, week, month have experienced a rough go in life. You are not alone in having suffered. It does seem like maybe you isolate yourself, not by avoiding social contact, but by failing to recognize that you are not in a unique circumstance. (General side note: comparisons of the "who had it worse" sort seem to me to be rather misguided -- pain is pain, and that's all there is to it. We cannot know another's experience; therefore, we cannot judge how the depth of another's suffering compares to our own or that of anyone else).

 

Back to my "to the OP": As others have said in responding to you, I am not trying to be harsh or minimize your pain. Note how many people felt the need to include a statement along those lines. Something in the way you are coming across is causing responders to anticipate your becoming defensive or feeling persecuted...that is a valuable piece of information for you to have, if you will allow yourself the chance to notice your own reactions without attachment to those reactions. It is not easy to do that kind of noticing, but it is worth doing, I promise you that. I am easily wounded, prone to defensiveness (more so in how I react internally than in how I respond outwardly, but it is an instinctive crouch for me nonetheless), and vulnerable to perceiving what others do as somehow directed at/because of me when in reality it has nothing to do with me personally. Similarly, I am often inclined to perceive neutral interactions as negative. Perhaps you can relate? In my case, the combination of these tendencies have generally led me to a negative perception of myself, rather than others, believing myself to be unlikeable, destined to fail, etc. Maybe in your case, a similar combination leads you to perceive others as out to get you and/or the world as unfair? (To be clear, the world IS unfair, but it is not uniquely unfair to you or any other individual -- it is unfair to most). For those of us who are sensitive, easily wounded, etc., it can be very helpful to make a concerted and persistent effort to reappraise our perception of what we experience.  

 

I'm in danger of rambling, if I haven't already begun. That's another tendency of mine...one I'm also working on. 

 

Here is my advice: Try to let your guard down with others and, perhaps even more importantly, with yourself. Try to see others as fragile human beings who have their own complicated histories that make them struggle with this, that, or some other thing...and that make them imperfect and, sometimes, difficult or unpleasant to be around. Try to see yourself as one of them, not somehow apart from them. Rather than fixating on whether you are "right" (as in justified) in perceiving an interpersonal situation in the way you do, focus on being effective interpersonally. Seek the strength to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Finally, try mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation.

 

I wish you the best, and hope that you may soon find peace of mind. 

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I had a rough upbringing too, if you didn't happen to catch it, and it doesn't "mess with my self-esteem, coping skills, and decision-making". And I am not a "result of my past" and I can just "get over it." So your facts don't apply to all of "us" apparently. My point is, don't use generalizations. It might have messed you up but that doesn't mean everyone who had a rough upbringing has an excuse for being messed up. 

 

Yes, you are a result of your past, whether you want to admit it or not. What kind of past that was and how you choose to deal with it is another matter. 

 

There is no need to attack every person who mentions having a hard childhood. Nobody's using their upbringing as an excuse. But if they manage to see how certain things in their past have influenced their current personality/behaviour, good for them. It helps to move on and change things you don't like about yourself. 

 

If those things really did happen to you, I applaud you for overcoming them and succeeding in life. But there is no need to act like a tough guy and belittle other people. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Are you sure it's not you? 

 

Are you sure it's not sexism?  What, do you think sexism is dead or something?

 

ETA: I don't necessarily disagree with everything that's been said to try to help the OP, but I'm always surprised when people kind of blithely bypass the possibility that sexism could be at play.  Sexism is everywhere in academia.  Everywhere.

Edited by gr8pumpkin
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Yes, you are a result of your past, whether you want to admit it or not. What kind of past that was and how you choose to deal with it is another matter. 

 

There is no need to attack every person who mentions having a hard childhood. Nobody's using their upbringing as an excuse. But if they manage to see how certain things in their past have influenced their current personality/behaviour, good for them. It helps to move on and change things you don't like about yourself. 

 

If those things really did happen to you, I applaud you for overcoming them and succeeding in life. But there is no need to act like a tough guy and belittle other people.

Amen!

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OP you haven't updated in a while, what happened?

I think you're entitled to your feelings and in all honesty people shouldn't try to "one up" you with their tragic "life story" it's just sad.  One situation isn't worse than the other and doesn't change how you feel.  People are effected differently by situations.  Good luck hope it all works out for you.

Edited by LittleDarlings
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Guest Gnome Chomsky

OP you haven't updated in a while, what happened?

I think you're entitled to your feelings and in all honesty people shouldn't try to "one up" you with their tragic "life story" it's just sad.  One situation isn't worse than the other and doesn't change how you feel.  People are effected differently by situations.  Good luck hope it all works out for you.

Why do you "one-up" all your own posts, then? 

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

How about we try not to derail someone else's thread. :) I know you enjoy making it about you but it isn't.

You're just trying to gain back your reputation after you made such a good first impression on this board with your obsessions and judgments. Why else would 90% of a person's likes come from themself?

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You're just trying to gain back your reputation after you made such a good first impression on this board with your obsessions and judgments. Why else would 90% of a person's likes come from themself?

Lol like I said unlike you I have no intent to derail this thread or tell some sob story. I don't care about my reputation on here. I don't know these people they don't know me so it doesn't matter. You seem to be the only person concerned with reputation on here:/

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I thought we're way past this issue with Gnome on this thread; why are you guys suddenly bringing it back and now he's here defending himself again? He's made some good comments and given some good advice to OP, so it's not as negative as people made it out to be. And about the bad childhood thing, the way I see it is this: Gnome is saying a bad childhood does not justify your negative behavior, which you may or may not agree with. To him it is not a valid excuse, which the OP was using as a reason for her outlook towards life and her inability to control her negative feelings. To back that up, his anecdotal evidence is that he himself had a bad, or potentially worse, childhood, and he does not have problem controlling his negative feelings. I don't see it as bragging or measuring bad experiences at all but as an "your argument is invalid because of this exception" type of thing, and also because it would be insensitive and invalid if he said that without having experienced a rough childhood himself.

Edited by VioletAyame
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