Mar 25, 2010

Because the sky is blue

I fear I have somehow, unknowingly angered the gods that govern my success/failure in life. The rift between my academic undertakings and my job has never seemed more wretchedly pronounced than in the past few weeks, especially in light of all of Nick's recent successes.

Contrary to what some of you may think, I don't really enjoy my job at Starbucks. I've stayed there in an effort to prove to everyone (namely myself) that I am nothing like -----, but maybe that's already obvious to those of you who know whose name I have omitted. I actually have been sending out resumes when time/energy permits, but nothing has turned up so far. In the meantime, I become increasingly resentful at having to expend time and energy towards a job in which I am smarter than both customers and coworkers, and more competent (some would say) than my boss. I suppose that's why they want to promote me again (yes, really), but as you might imagine, I am something less than thrilled at the prospect of having to spend more time and more energy in an environment whose expectations I so greatly surpass.

On the other hand, not having a job is not an option, much as I would like to actually have time to devote to my research and crafts. I have debated setting up an Etsy shop, but I'd have to sell a LOT of stuff to even bring in half of what I make at Starbucks each month. So Etsy, for now, isn't really an option, either.

By contrast, my academic life is going stunningly well, all things considered. My Piazzolla proposal was accepted by neither the Yale Graduate Symposium or the Graduate Center, but I have been invited to the GSIMs conference as a non-presenting participant, and I get to participate in the morning large-group discussion, so that's something. Yesterday, without quite meaning to, I caused about half of my opera class to erupt into chaotic yelling over how the Israel/Palestine conflict is (inaccurately) presented to many American Jews. On the other hand, the class has never been louder or more sincere than yesterday in discussing why Adams' Death of Klinghoffer incites such a passionate response. And I pulled my academic self together enough today to hand in an adequate outline on my final Ethnomusicology project, concerning tango. Not only that, I gave an excitingly relevant presentation in class this evening on Matisyahu and "Orthodox" reggae. Despite the fact that I have largely dis-engaged from being an Orthodox Jew, I am nevertheless genuinely, compulsively interested in Jewish studies as they relate to music. Hopefully after this week people will still take me seriously when I talk about non-Jewish topics in class! So that's a couple more somethings.

I realize that many of you who read my blog don't quite understand why I remain in school, trying to attain an academic life. What if I told you that my writing is every bit as good as some of my professors, only their work has been published and mine hasn't? What if I told you that, minus some background reading I should probably do at some point, I am as smart as they, and equally as capable (though not as experienced) at teaching college classes? I was lucky enough as an undergraduate to take a few philosophy classes, the nature (not content) of which completely changed my approach to academia and how I engaged with it. In some ways, I suppose I view my academic mission as passing on what I learned as an undergraduate, hoping that I'll have another opportunity to teach college class, and beyond that, with any kind of luck at all, that I'll inspire other students to embrace and engage with their intelligence.