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Contemplating winter break and an English PhD

Posted by bostonki on December 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

The exams have been taken, the dorm packed, the suitcase left laying on the floor in my room, the holidays celebrated, and the boredom beginning to kick in.

I always find winter break to be exceptionally painful post-New Year’s.  There’s nothing to be done unless you work part-time (which thank goodness will take up some of my January), and it’s not like there are too many outdoor activities going on in Buffalo.  A large chunk of my break is usually spent complaining about how at any second I could physically die of boredom, and then subsequently tearing through a 300-page novel in two days.

Yesterday, I finished the most delightful mystery/thriller novel (undoubtedly my favorite genre), You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott.  The plot follows elite competitive gymnast Devon, whose parents will do anything to see her realize what they think is her dream of someday reaching the Olympics.  The story is an unsuspiciously normal murder mystery, until the last 100 pages.

I’m not here to discuss the plot, however, but the author herself.  Her style of writing was something that I’ve never really encountered before in a novel.  She splits the pieces of the puzzle up into seemingly unimportant fragments, somehow managing to keep the cast of characters’ emotions and memories amazingly realistic as we travel through the story.  An emotion that a character displayed on page twenty three could come back to haunt us on page two hundred and twenty nine.  I also noticed how her interactions between characters are different.  There is less identification in the conversations as to who’s talking and more action.  The reader feels as if they are watching a conversation play out right before their eyes.  I’m not an English major, nor know much about what these differences could be, but I do know that they are there.

The author has a PhD in English and American Literature from New York University.  Is there something to this extra experience and education that results in the differences I felt reading her novels compared to others?  The change was certainly welcoming.  I may have to read around and figure this out for myself.


A letter to organic chemistry

Posted by bostonki on December 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

Dear Organic Chemistry,

I wish I could say that we’re breaking up, but I unfortunately missed the resignation deadline last month.

I like science, always have.  But you, you are where I draw the line. So sweet and innocent at first, you slammed into me like a truck around chapter 5.  Now, I’m sitting here trying to work on chapter 10 and contemplating how to explain away a B- or C.

But I don’t need you.  I changed majors.  I don’t care about you anymore, you’re irrelevant to my studies.  What’s one bad grade on a college transcript for a class that isn’t even required?

I keep trying to convince myself that it doesn’t matter, that I had a goal to get a lower grade in a class this semester to ward off my perfectionism.  But that little voice in the back of my brain still buzzes, “Ha, ha, science defeated you.  It weeded you out like a weak baby duckling”.

Pride, maybe that’s the issue.  From “I WILL become a doctor someday” to “Well working in higher education sounds like the”, it’s been a rough transition.  And sulfonate esters have not made it easier.

Seriously, if this is biology at it’s roots, I’m not interested.  I’ll focus the majority of my energy for the next two weeks on the classes that make me the type of happy I deserve to be.

After all, it’s just one grade.

And I’m the happiest woman in the world to know that after December 17th, I will never have to look into your eyes again.