unravelling at night what she had woven during the day, as a clever ploy to “buy time” and stave off hungry suitors - Odyssey

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1) personal reasons 2) professional reasons 3) both 4) neither

From: Future PhD student
Subject: What do you think of your program
Date: 8 January, 2014 
To: Current PhD Candidate 


My name is Future Student and I TA with your friend at Orange University.  I am just in the midst of preparing PhD applications and am considering Critical Science department at Blue University.  I guess I'm just looking for an inside opinion on how you are enjoying the experience and how you find the workload.  My partner is a PhD student at Orange U and I have kids, so if accepted, I will likely be commuting from the South (although my folks live in Blue Town, so I have place to crash).

My own research interests have grown both out of my MA research on the production of Cool Things in the age of VBN and my professional background in that industry.  I hope to investigate how recent amendments to That Act have obfuscated our understanding of what it means to do Cool Things. 

I've been in contact with The Director who has suggested my research may overlap with the following professors:  Ms. Her, Ms. Hen, Sir. Him.  Have you had any contact with them and have you found them to be good to work with?  Is there anyone else you think of that I should contact?

Thanks for taking the time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Future PhD student

From: Future PhD student
Subject: re: What do you think of your program
Date: 19 January, 2014
To: Current PhD Candidate 


My goodness, sorry for the delayed response!  

Yes, good questions. I will start with a caveat: I have not figured out yet if I am doing this PhD for 1) personal reasons, 2) professional reasons, 3) both, or 4) neither. I thought I wanted to teach when I started but the job market is pretty terrible. For that reason, I have reformulated the reasons why I am doing what I am doing while in the thick of PhD studies. I think I am doing this for personal reasons - maybe I am trying to find myself esteem and confidence through school.  But at the same time PhD work breaks down confidence, promotes insecurity and I often feel like I'm about to have a nervous breakdown. It took me three years to realize this and its pretty depressing. Giving up would make it worse. Staying here is painful. I am sure your wife has told you about how isolation and poverty, constant criticism and competition, all amounting to no tangible guarantee of employment, can really turn someone inside out.  So maybe I am not doing it for personal reasons. If it is neither, than I imagine it is my pride and ego encouraging me along (you must have an ego to do a PhD, I am sure you know this). Perhaps it is because I love my project and I am sincerely interested in my topic. Maybe the answer to why I am doing what I am doing will only appear once I've completed the program. Maybe not. Here's hoping. 

The program: amazing! The faculty here are pretty critical and supportive. I am proud of that. 

The course work was demanding, but natural: we all know how to write papers and put readings in conversation for the sake of fruitful seminar discussion. How much Quine or  Pierce have you read?:)

There are 15 people accepted a year, and there are 6 cohorts at the moment. Because the program is still relatively new the department seems to be pretty flexible and open - the students and faculty, together, are constructing the boundaries of the program. I see this as a healthy and exciting circumstance to challenge a PhD, while others, I'm afraid, pine for more structure. I suppose its a matter of preference.

Your research: for certain this department has faculty that do policy analysis. However, most of those professors are not lecturing any of the PhD courses (maybe Ms. Her). Of course, the faculty rotates and I have no clue who will be teaching those courses next year. But as it stand now, those who guide us PhDers through our coursework are more theoretically oriented. I am not sure at what angle you would like to explore the object of research you propose...... at any rate, it sounds interesting! 

I do not know Ms. Hen or Sir. Him, unfortunately. Ms. Her I know and like. She's a firecracker and an exciting and eccentric person. I was in her class for a hot minute but decided to switch out for another course which suited me better. If you are looking to do applied ethics act , those professors are sound recommendations. I would also contact SeƱor Brick. He's an excellent scholar, very causal and bright. He writes on Cool Things.  Perhaps send him an e-mail?

I hope this honesty didn't unsettle you! Know that I am happy to be at this university, in this department, doing a project I love profoundly. 

All the best and let me know if you have any questions!

PhD Candidate

Yes, No , Maybe, So...

From: Grad Program Person
Subject: Award
Date: 06 January, 2014 2:41 PM EST
To: Grad Student

Hello Grad student,

I wanted to update you on The Big Award you applied for recently. Unfortunately, we were only able to put forward one name and you were not nominated for this award.


Your Grad Program Person

From: Grad Program Person
Subject: Award Error
Date:  10 January, 2014 12:15 PM EST
To: Grad Student

Grad student,

I am sorry that I mixed up The Big Award letters. The department forwarded your application to the Faculty of Grad Studies but they did not forward it to The Big Award Council. I was just filing and noticed this contradiction in letters.

Sorry about the letters.

Your Grad Program Person

From: Grad Student
Subject: Re: Award Error
Date:  13 January, 2014 9:39 AM EST
To: Grad Program Person

Hi Grad Program Person,

The letter that I got said I wasn't forwarded.

Grad student

From: Grad Program Person
Subject: Award Error
Date:  13 January, 2014 2:09 PM EST
To: Grad Student

Hello, I am sorry I have further complicated this whole issue. Please disregard this letter.

Grad Program Person

bureaucratic ferris wheel

From: Admin Assistant, Student Affairs
Date: Nov 25, 2013
To: Student
Subject: Meeting Notice 

Hello Student,

The Office of Student Affairs has received a report from the Athletics Department regarding the unauthorized distribution and use of your student card. Specifically, you lent your student card to a friend so that they could access the facility. Accordingly, Athletics confiscated your card.

In accordance with the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy, you have allegedly violated: 

Category 1, Section 7, Failure to Comply (with the terms and conditions of Cold University Identification)

This is to advise you that you are required to meet with the Director of Student Affairs. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the conduct alleged and to determine whether such conduct merits the imposition of a sanction.

Your meeting is scheduled for December 5, 2013 at 10:00 am in 430 Who Knows Building.  Please confirm your attendance via email to me no later than December 2nd. Note that failure to respond to this request and attend this mandatory meeting will result in a fine for non-compliance that will be applied to your student account. In addition, the Director will render a decision regarding this incident based on available evidence. This decision will be communicated to you via email.

Also, you may wish to speak with the University Ombudsman in advance of this meeting. The Ombudsman role is to advise and support students throughout the Student Rights and Responsibilities process.

Thank you.

Administrative Assistant, Student Affairs

From: Student
Sent: November 25, 2013
To: Admin Assistant, Student Affairs
Subject: RE: Meeting Notice


Your email came as a surprise to me and quite an unpleasant one at that. I feel that not only my time had been wasted reading this but every person involved in this bureaucratic chain up to the point of me receiving this absurd message. 

The amount of actual crime or 'violations' as you'd call it that occur on the daily by either the student body or staff of the University that go unreported or bypass investigation is insulting. This pathetic type of work ethic is increased by the actions leading up to and after the send button was clicked from your email. 

I will attend your meeting and play your pithy game as to not give you anymore of the money you so hungrily take from everyone who attends, parks, and is involved in the University community. 

As a side note, if school violence was ever a concern to you, I'd rearrange the way you deal with your issues. I could see that a person with less patience, confidence, or mental stability than I do, who would have to deal with such a trivial matter on top of everything else in their life would be inclined to take their anger out on the people responsible for their meltdown. 

I will simply shake and hang my head in embarrassment for you and everyone in this chain. 

My email here is to acknowledge that I have read your concerns and have given a second to 30 of thought towards your pathetic threats of fining me. 

I don't have time to be interviewed by your summer interns about this and the resource you'd otherwise spend to pay these people can be placed elsewhere, possibly towards fixing the automatic doors that ostensibly assist people with disabilities who also help pay your salary with no benefit. 


From: Director of Student Affairs
Sent: November 25, 2013
To: Student
Subject: Meeting - Notice


I’ll be working with you directly to set up a meeting for us to chat.  The Administrative Assistant has shared your emails with me.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to discuss the concerns you have with the university and this situation in particular.  While lending out your card to another student (allegedly) is not the end of the world, the university does have a process and it needs to be followed.  You do have an option.  Rather than meeting with me, you can simply go to Info University and have a new card printed.  If you choose this route, I’ll assign the obligatory fine of $25 along with an email asking you not duplicate the behaviour.  However, I do think we could both benefit from discussing the issue that brought you to my attention as well as the concerns you’ve shared with my assistant in writing subsequently.

I’ll leave it to you to determine how you would like to proceed.

Kind regards,

Director of Student Affairs

From: Student

Sent: November 27, 2013
To: Director of Student Affairs
Subject: Meeting

With deepest, sadness I'm writing to inform you that I will not be able to ride the bureaucratic ferris wheel with you. I will be away until the 10th, in which case you can reschedule a meeting if this issue is still relevant. 


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