Statements of purpose

[Don’t say I didn’t warn you: this will be a rather disjointed post because my synapses are not connecting. I’m not sure they ever were, really, but today they are all over the place. It’s like there’s a fantastically uncoordinated game of Pong going on inside my head.]

After reading this post by Sisyphus over at Academic Cog, I realized that I have been wasting a lot of time in the last two weeks (surprise! surprise!). I don’t really have that much to do either. I work 15 hours a week at a completely non-academic related job, but I only have 2 seminar papers and 1 grad application to complete. Compared to the last time I was applying to graduate schools, this is a piece of cake! For some perspective: the last time I applied I was taking three grad seminars in history, serving as a teaching assistant for an intro to American history course with a total of 160 students (and only little ol’ me to do all of that grading), working on the editorial board of the department’s journal, and applying to 15 schools (which I later dropped down to 9 because I–and my wallet–just couldn’t take it anymore). Hmmm, I’ve apparently lost my mojo since then.

Anyhoo, Sisyphus gives some good advice about approaching the monumental task of writing a dissertation: start small. Sub-section the bajeezus out of whatever it is you are writing and work on one section at a time. I mean, when working on a jigsaw puzzle you don’t pick up every piece at once and smash them all into a perfectly ordered final product–you place one tiny piece at a time. So I will try to embrace that as a strategy. I will sit my arse down in front of the computer and write (and write something other than blog posts). I need to get draft of my statement of purpose done today, and this weekend I need to make some headway on at least one of my seminar papers. Oh, and I need to make apple cider cupcakes because, well, they look delicious and baking helps me relax.

On another note entirely, I have decided that I will most likely drop out of most of my reading challenges (with the exception of the Russian Reading Challenge for 2008). Yesterday I found myself wanting to read some Cynthia Ozick and I hesitated because it wouldn’t count for any challenge. WTF? At this crucial moment in the semester reading really needs to be fun and not an obligation, as I have plenty of those to avoid already.

And a final note: I highly recommend this post on the ever-irritating statement of purpose over at Notes of a Neophyte.  Hi-larious. And so true.  And it’s sad, you know, when a spoof is so much better than the piece of crap I have right now.  Sigh.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Now how did you get from “subhead the bejeezus out of everything” to “you have been wasting your time these past two weeks”? That’s not what I said!

    PS, to match the spirit of my illustrations you should be sowing your own grain for bread and making goat-skin umbrellas, not apple cider cupcakes.



  2. Sisyphus: See what I mean about pong? In my head it was clear to me that I was avoiding work altogether (and thus wasting time) because I was too focused on the overall picture rather than the subheadings. I must have forgotten to include that part. Oops!

    What if I planted the apple trees in order to grow the apples that I would make the apple cider from? Although the recipe also calls for Agar powder, and I have no frickin clue what that is…


  3. Posted by Harleyman on November 30, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Instead of the cupcakes, you should lightly spray the bottom of a 9″ square baking dish. In a medium sauce pan melt and stir until smooth, 2 sticks of unsalted butter and 8 oz of velveeta. When fully melted and smooth add 1 cup of walnuts and 1 tsb vanilla. In a large bowl, sift 2 16 oz packages of powered sugar and 1/2 cup of cocoa. Add cheese mixture and mix. At the end you might have to use your hands. Press into the dish. Refrigerate. Read a book while it cools. Great fudge…


  4. I am always jealous of marine biologists because they get to write “Statements of Porpoise,” which we can all agree is much easier.


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