academic losers

After working feverishly for three days, not sleeping or eating; after talking for hours about phrenology and criminology and epistemological ruptures and the history of photography and the nature of realism while chainsmoking in a stairwell; after putting together a massive bibliography — most of which we read — including, among others, Sontag, Derrida, Lacan, and Ian Watt; after all this, my friends and I reach a mutual decision to give up. We’ll skip class, forgo the grade, and not give our fifteen minute presentation on realism and photography in 19th Century Britain.

Instead, we’re going to write an apologetic email to the teacher and spend the class hour in a cafe eating blueberry muffins and drinking cappuccinos.

Thank fucking god.


~ by Not Alice on March 12, 2007.

6 Responses to “academic losers”

  1. Nooooooo! You just made this adjunct prof. very, very sad. Nothing worse than having to give a ‘No Credit.’ Except for maybe getting a ‘No Credit’ when you (the student) have done the reading, deserve a decent grade… heck, *any* grade, and are just too, I dunno, freaked? to finish things off.

    My advice: don’t make this into more than it should be. It’s fifteen minutes. Give the presentation. Make an outline and just get up there and go. So what if you don’t do as well as you think you should? Even a freakin’ C is better than nothing.

    Maybe you’re kidding. I’m going to sit here and translate my Ovid and pretend you were kidding. But you kids! You’re going to give me the gray hairs.

  2. No, I’m afraid I’m not kidding, and no, we didn’t go. We tried to be decadent but we were all so miserable with guilt that our cafe brunch was unenjoyable. We came back to campus right after and gave our mea culpa to the prof — a horrendous ordeal; 2/3rds of us (myself included) were actually physically ill, we were so anguished. But the teacher is wonderful, and we’ll be giving the presentation tomorrow.

    Really, I don’t think she was surprised. A. is very abstract and deep-thinking, E. gets lets her intelligence fall easily into crippling anxiety, and I have been several times to the teacher’s office to fall apart about how I cannot possibly write papers when I don’t know the entire history of the evolution of the British novel.

    The lesson is well learned: the three of us should never work together again. All too anxious, and not a practical bone among us.

  3. Oh, also: translating Ovid? SO COOL. What are you translating? I’ve been reading The Metamorphoses, and I really love it.

  4. Yay! I’m so glad you all met with your prof, and were able to arrange a make-up for the presentation.

    The Ovid is my own little coping mechanism. I’m not a Classicist (my MFA was in creative writing), but I’m in a bit of a rut writing-wise, and find translation comforting — the forced slow attention to words and meanings, freed from creative anxiety. Plus Ovid rocks (I’m reading The Metamorphoses, too. And have you ever read the Heroides? If I were stuck on a desert island, I’d want my Ovid with me).

  5. I have not read the Heroides, but I will totally pick it up next time I have money to buy books. He’s really wonderful — I have been reading The Metamorphoses very slowly, offering bits of it to myself as treats for finishing class reading and strange and torturous borrowed books.

    I think that it is quite wonderful that you use it as a coping mechanism — I have always longed to be proficient enough in a language to translate poetry. German, preferably, because then I could do Rilke, but Spanish for Lorca and Neruda would be good too. Something to work on.

  6. […] alone, should somehow be easier a task to accomplish with other people, but the three of us are notoriously incapable of getting anything done when trying to work together; we tend to bring out and amplify each […]

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