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The grass is always greener

This came up earlier today in conversation with new and old students loitering around the Centre porch, and the more I muse on it, the more true it seems. "Everyone else leads a more interesting life than I do." Everyone seated around the table agreed with this. Lives always sound better in excerpts and summaries. And there was plenty of interest in recent life around that table from this past summer: hiking in rural Romania, two weeks of an archaeological dig in southern France, a summer research assistantship working on the history of emotions, and hey, if I talk about my summer in terms of Finland, England, festivals, and food, my life sounds interesting too.

Part of it is the frequently-found inferiority complex among overwhelmed, but competitive, graduate students. If they can pass that exam, then surely I can too. If they can get into that program, than surely I'm qualified to do that. They must be so competent if they can read that in Old English! That kind of thing.

It's kind of funny, I'm no longer even at a formally competitive part of being a student. It's me against myself and my ability or desire to work on my dissertation topic. No one else is doing it. (I am so glad my research life isn't remotely like that in Possession.)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 3rd, 2002 05:27 pm (UTC)
I noticed your earlier comment about the movie Possession--have you read the book? How was the movie? I have read the book, and I'm debating going, because I enjoyed the book so much I don't want the movie to be a massive letdown...however, if it stands on its own as a decent film, I will go.
Sep. 3rd, 2002 06:55 pm (UTC)
I have not read the book, although I discussed the movie with people who have earlier today. They said the ending, at least, is very true to the book, as was my impression that the historical characters were somewhat shallow, in the sense that they're not developed as full-fledged characters. Martha's one particular complaint was the way Roland was changed for the movie - he's made into a relatively confident American. The Americanness on one hand seemed arbitrary, on the other hand, it made it far too easy for the screenwriters to come up with jabs against him. Everyone very diligently pushed down the young graduate student, insulting him with all sorts of insignificance. Nevertheless, he had a fair amount of self-confidence. Despite being belittled by just about everyone in the first third of the movie.

It was a decent movie, on the whole well-paced and developed. One review I've read said the ice maiden melting happened too fast - but I don't know how it occurs in the book. Personally, I thought the competing academics were not well enough developed - it seemed like a very secondary plot, the focus was very much on the poets and on Roland and his partner-in-research.

I'm glad I've seen it, but I can't say I was overwhelmed by it. It was decent, it'll do, and it was a fairly happy and suspense-music-free movie which is ALWAYS good for me.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )