Friday, May 1, 2009

The Austin Chonicles: I'm Here to Learn

I confess. I'm a nerd. I love school.

I don't just love learning--which I also love to do. I love going to school. I love having syllabi, and assignments, and deadlines, and thesis statements. I love buying a new multi-subject notebook and making sure I have pens and pencils (please, highlighters are so gauche) for the first day of class. More than anything, I love reading books and articles and discussing them in a group around a table in a room that was decorated in the mid-1970's, probably with fake wood laminate and harvest gold industrial carpet. I really rather despise the grey and blue shiny new multimedia rooms, leave that for non-humanities folks. Yes, it's true. I'm a liberal arts addict.

So, it only made sense that I go to graduate school. Ah, but to study what? Why, Women's and Gender Studies!

And at what venerable institution? The University of Texas...of course?

Yes, Women's and Gender Studies.

In Texas.

In the George W. Bush years...

Okay, okay, it was in Austin. But, let me tell you, it was still Texas.

As many, many people have pointed out, a graduate degree (especially in the humanities, and particularly in Women's Studies) won't land you a job. But, then we were doing this for the pure love of it, right? So, no. I am not employed as the person that hands out the shining new syllabus, but I don't regret my two years knee deep in books last checked out in 1982 and pdf's of the New York Times archives. Because, did I mention this was in Texas?

Sure, I could have studied in the liberal bastion of San Francisco or Boston, but there were enough of me in the Bay Area, and I couldn't bring myself to live in the snow. Besides, this was the belly of the beast! I could learn so much! Have such engaging, heated conversations! And I did. But, not quite in the way I had planned.

So, let me introduce you to "The Austin Chronicles." Snippets of my time in Texas.

...duh, you have to wait.

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