Thursday, October 11, 2007

Grad Student = Potential Alcoholic

I've been very slowly acclimating to my new life as a grad student. It's been taking me some time because I am, at present, interested in keeping to myself, and observing the politics of the academic hierarchy (something I didn't really appreciate until I began my new academic career as a grad student, where one is expected or highly encouraged to teach, publish, present at conferences or at least attend them, or a combination of all of these).

So I've been slowly getting to know my Writing Center co-workers. I've been a bit anti-social; since everything is new I've been putting myself in the corner most days that I go into work, trying to get a handle on homework and the politics of this new Writing Center. I have been "making friends" but I've been keeping to myself much of the time, is all.

However, yesterday I was talking to one of my WC cohorts, and we were discussing the sheer amounts of alcohol made available to grad students. I don't know if it's a rite of passage; when you're an undergrad, drinking isn't really allowed because for many students, half the time you're under 21 anyway, so there's this sneaky, "I'm getting away with something" attitude, and I guess the illegality of it is really tempting if you're into that scene. But apparently some professors are bringing in wine and beer to their classes, and one Writing Center co-worker was telling me yesterday that at least in one class of hers, it's gotten out of hand: It started out that the professor having brought in a bottle or two of wine for the class, and now students bringing in their own wine and beer in rather larger quantities. I have noticed a lot of grad students being very pleased with how much alcohol they're knocking back, and indicating that there's no fun to be had unless alcohol is involved, and a few have indicated that drinking is the adult thing to do. (Which, if you think of it, is kinda the exact opposite.)

I even noticed during the Open House that the English Department had large amounts of wine and beer - and considerably less soda. I dislike wine; I tend to have allergic reactions to most beer; and seriously? Drinking in the middle of the day? I suppose if you're 22 or 24 or something and this is your first taste of "adulthood" it's all very exciting, but I don't get it.

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