Sunday, April 27, 2008

If you're havin' school problems, I feel bad for you son; I got 99 problems, but a BA ain't one.

Now I'm all graduated. It really doesn't feel like that big of a step because, of course, this fall I'll be headed back with the same teachers, studying the same thing at the same school. Still.

The Humanities Department convocation was an exerise in sitting politely and trying not to not off (although I did count six people on the stand who did so) while a long-winded philosophy professor talked about a BYU history exhibit (that has been in development 7 years and isn't even open yet) for nearly an hour. What ever happened to "go forth and change the world, the future belongs to you, this is only a beginning, etc?"

University commencement was better (and shorter) with David A. telling us all that we only come to college to learn skills of how to love learning. Also, he acknowledged that no one at graduation is there for the speaker. Pshw.

I did get my Costco carrot cake with apricot filling and a very pretty BYU-blue and white dress. And, having moved into my parents' place, I also have a room full of too much stuff to sort through, three weeks to play and work and learn whatever I want, and a subscription to netflicks to be keep my weekends busy. Life is very very good.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Summer Dreamin'

The bad news is that school's not over yet--I have 3 finals next week. But the good news is that at this nearing-180-credit point in my life, I doubt even a string of Bs can do much harm to my GPA.

The good news, also, is that I'm going to have a kickin' summer. In yearbook terms.

I'm going to spend 3 weeks living the American dream, which is to say the Americans by James Joyce dream. I'm pretty much coming of age.


So here's what I want:

What should I bring on my backpacking in Europe?


What should I see?

Go, team, go

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hosting

I got to co-host the BYU Unforum. I will probably never again speak in front of so many people in my life.






Then again, that's what I said after I spoke at my H.S. graduation.


But I got to wear my old prom dress (I'm always looking for an excuse to wear it) and wear hoochy-mama lipstick (I don't know all the reasons why a man would become a transvestite, but I'm pretty sure the hoochy-mama lipstick has something to do with it) and I got to walk down a red carpet and wave and shine to the audience and hang out back stage with Cosmo and Cecil. And that's a pretty good Tuesday.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Literate

I like to read. All those who are paying strict attention to the "Books I'm Reading" corner of this blog may realize that Tale of Two Cities has been there, stubbornly, for now months. Yes, I'm still bookmarked near the beginning of the pulsing, wild violence and mushy heroics haven't even been foreshadowed. Sometimes I watch movies instead of reading books, but I really like to read.

Maybe you misunderstand me. I can't not read. I'm in the shower and I read the backs of all my shampoo bottles, which is becoming sort of a matins. I read the backs of cereal boxes, the titles of books people I walk by are reading, the headlines of Soap Opera Weekly at the check stand. I pity those who are functionally illiterate as much as those who can't read in the car. Or those who can't read while walking. I can't brush my teeth or take a bath until I've selected something to skim. I read through a cookbook today, reading all of the comments from the women who sent in the recipes: "This was a favorite at our church's fellowshipping potlucks," "My mother-in-law used to make this every Christmas," "Our children love breaking up the cookies for the crust." On my mission, I would read half an article in the Ensign before I went to bed so that when my alarm clock went off I'd jump out of bed and pray so that I could finish it. I've read every Ensign published since Russia was opened for the preaching of the gospel.

Maybe I get it from my dad, who sometimes reads, aloud, every sign and billboard we speed past on the freeway. Anyway, it's probably more from him than from my mom, who reads properly. She would have been done with Tale of Two Cities and on to Bleak House by now. It's probably less of an intellectual pursuit and more of a nervous disorder. Still I have the advantage of often being able to mentioned that I had read something some where. Then the question is, "and where exactly was I?"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Great Justification of My Attendance at BYU

Okay, I've not turned in my acceptance of a benefit and can start registering, so let's talk about defending the choice that I've made. As my gmail tagline has stated the past few days, "I'm BYU bound and BYU-bound."

Here are my reasons:

1) I don't want to get into debt for an MA in a program that I'm not particularly interested in for a non-terminal degree at a school that is okay, but not great when...

2) after getting my MA here at BYU I can apply to really good schools that weren't options this round because
a) I haven't taken te subject GRE and
b) I don't have a strong grasp on Latin, my preferred 3rd/ancient language

3) and after all, BYU is not that bad of a school--I'll get to work with some great faculty whereas MAs at schools that have PhDs tend to stiff their MA students and I'll get to teach here from semester 1 (probably) and as a single woman, I have to consider the search costs of dating outside of Happy V. and I can live at home if I further need to tighten expenses and I have a job lined up for a professor this summer.

But really, why do I have to defend myself on this? Renaissance Girl called me into her office to discuss how to fanangle my way into Chicago and warned me about the consequences this choice could have on my academic future. This is a big decision.

But here's the thing:

I'm not certain there are that many big decision, just lots and lots of little decision. There's the decision, say, to marry a certain person, but that decision may be just as equally important and inspired as the decision to praise or berate one's spouse, the decision to be selfish or selfless, etc. and if the marriage doesn't work out, was it a bad decision? If it goes swimmingly, was it a good decision? Not necessarily any more or less than any of the decisions that either party made along the way.

Same thing with my education. There were some decisions that I should have looked at earlier (the aforementioned 3rd langauge and subject test as well as choices of specific programs at a wider variety of schools) but there are a lot of decisions I get to make now and in the MA program. I can use this time to learn to write well and figure out what an academic does and how to teach students and work with administration and write my novel and get published all over and be smart. Or I can goof around. I could do these things here, or at any other school. In fact, from my brother's experience at a good school, and my sister-in-law's, it seems like both of these choices present themselves at brand-name schools too. People are generally about as educated as they want to be.

So what about Spence's Signaling model? Isn't it worth it to have a brand-name education just to be able to show off what a smarty-pants you are? Probably. I'll have to play this game with my PhD for certain, but most people just look at a terminal degree. Maybe going to BYU will mean I'll have to work extra hard to impress those looking at me for their PhD program, but I'd rather learn the skills of academia here with my MA than debt myself pre-recession at a name brand school that will benefit me primarily by fact of my getting in. I have enough confidence in my intellectual ability that I think I'll be able to pull it in the real world by going here.

So speaking of these hundred-thousand choices, I've made the choice this afternoon to eat ice cream and watch old Strong Bad email instead of correcting tests and writing papers, so I better start this journey of intellectual choices here, don't you think?