“I don’t even have any good skills”

Spring semester is a real shit time for graduate students.

Eleven days into the new year and six days until the semester starts, I’m bracing for the onslaught. And it’s not going to be pretty:

1. January: getting taxes ready. Fun. Not only do I need to face my W-2 but the temp people I’m paying at H&R Block will also be privy to this information. This day of reckoning always puts me into a sour mood: somehow I think all the work I’ve put into my craft for the past year merits more digits. I hate to see what I’m worth so grossly printed on paper. Especially in such a dreary office atmosphere.

2. February: completing the FAFSA. For the millionth year in a row. Will this be the year the government calls me out for being too old to request aid? This annual task adds humiliation to my now bubbling stew of sourness.

3. March/April: funding decisions from the department and the other powers that be. I’m a naturally optimistic person, but looking into the future through this lens is enough to push me into a Melancholia-like nihilist state.

4. May: summer job. Logically the close of the semester should bring an end to this horrible financial nightmare. Not so. To prolong the pain just a little more, now one needs to worry about coping for the next three months. Beyond the shade of academia you suddenly realize you don’t have any good skills, to quote Napoleon Dynamite. Even though you’ve been working hard, you’re not really qualified to do anything. And once you come to this realization it’s blazing outside which brings the stew to a complete boil.

As a palate cleanser, I’m getting lost in typeface.

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