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Feb. 21st, 2012 | 06:52 am

Well, it was quite apparent that I was pretty bummed out after the recent interview of a prospective grad student.

Yesterday the director of grad studies invited me to his office to have a chat about the situation of our PhD program.

He and another faculty member in his discipline (which is related to, but distinct from, mine) had some reservations about this candidate and felt that he was very obviously kissing the asses of my colleagues in my area, and that they were falling for it hook, line, and sinker.

Wow.

So my bit about feeling marginalized and irrelevant was not far off of the mark.

For my part, I noted some weaknesses in the candidate's record vis-a-vis this other, related discipline, and anticipated that my colleagues in that discipline might have reservations about him. I was right on that account. (I may or may not have mentioned this, but one of the colleagues in my discipline admitted, during the interview, that he hadn't reviewed the candidate's application. He "hadn't had time" to do it. Give me a fucking break!)

Will the real professionals please stand up? Unbelieveable.

I always fucking doubt myself as long as there is someone in my environment patronizing enough to reinforce those doubts.

There are subtle (and some not-so-subtle) social cues that people who are first-generation university students often find confusing (or infuriatingly hypocritical and contradictory) that seem to be embedded in academic "culture." I always feel as if I react too slowly to those things or--on the other hand--that I am too blunt and forceful in trying to unmask them (as if the cowards who put forth that bullshit will consent to being unmasked in public by me: what must I be thinking?).

In my very few spare moments I've been reading little bits of a bio of Mark Rothko. I'm interested in his belligerence. He was a first-generation immigrant who went directly from public school to Yale. I am a third-generation immigrant (on my mother's side) who went directly from public school to Yale. I think I carry some of the educated immigrant's rage.


Om Kreem Kalyai Namaha,

ak

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