S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Data Maintenance/Joys of Graduate School

This morning, my hard drive filled up. Nothing crashed, but each program in turn - of course - politely refused to save any data. 0 KB remaining. On reboot, I was back to 800 MB, but it was time to back up, and back up properly, so I could finally safely delete more data. It's a very, very good thing that our copiously large mail-ordered external hard drive arrived only the day before. It comes formatted to FAT32; it's always odd to see my data take up more space in backup than it does on the machine from which it came. We'll be repartitioning so it operates more sensibly.

I've spent the last few hours in the long-overdue process of sorting through unsorted folders of documents. Data storage may be cheap, and there's rarely a reason to delete all copies of a given document or program, but my hard drive is only so large and I don't need copies of everything there. Already, it has breathing space again. Data maintenance is a good level of effort to expend while I'm home ill.

I am delighted that a fair handful of you have very positive graduate school experiences. One of the best things to which blogs* opened my eyes over the past several years was the pervasiveness of graduate student discontent, the flaws and merits of academia, and how it's a very good thing to leave a graduate program which is hurting more than helping. While I was very glad to have read all those posts and discussions along the way, I was beginning to feel as if all the real positives I was hearing about graduate school were coming from public relations efforts, not once-or-current students themselves.

My pool of data is very small, but more of you found glad satisfacton in MAs than in PhDs. I suspect** part of that is because regular coursework allows for greater contact and discussion with colleagues, a chance to have a fairly immersive intellectually-stimulating environment in which to work. PhDs are usually more isolating, although it's also a time when many students try out a different kind of social activity: teaching.

Personally, I've been content with graduate school. I've learned a great deal and gained all sorts of good friends and colleagues whom I look forward to seeing again at our annual reunions academic conferences and while travelling. I've written a book-length manuscript (!) and I've become an independent scholar in the process. I'm still working on my time management skills, but I'd like to think they're better than they used to be.

As for "best days" - I'm not one for labeling my past in that way, for I've yet to discover what excitement and wonderfulness the future holds.

* Especially the much-missed Invisible Adjunct and also Caveat Lector (yarinareth2).
** Actually, this observation partially came from my father, responding to yesterday's comment thread.
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