Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gathering information... slowly...

Okay. Now we're getting somewhere. Sort of.

I received an email from the psychology department letting me know what my assistanceship duties would entail. Part of the veil of mystery I've been groping around under for the last several weeks has finally lifted. Just a little, though. We wouldn't want me to know everything I need to know before school begins. That would be too stinking logical.

Ever since I learned of my assistanceship, I've been wondering whether I'd end up as a Teaching Assistant or a Research Assistant... or maybe even some random office drone. According to the email, I'm apparently to serve as both a T.A. and an R.A., which was certainly a surprise. Man, they must really think I can, I don't know, do things. I've been assigned to one professor to teach his Intro to Psychology lab over at the Lincoln Center campus every Friday. Excellent... at the very least, it's an excuse to get down to the city every week, which I certainly welcome. On top of that, I've also been assigned to another professor as her research assistant, to aid her in whatever developmental research project she's up to at the moment. Also great... a good opportunity to jump right in and start doing empirical research, to become reacquainted with the ins and outs of that kind of procedure again. Beyond that, the email also instructed me to contact the Intro to Psych professor in order to determine what he'll need from me and how often.

This is where it starts to get a little stupid.

I called him, and he was absolutely great... very nice guy. He gave me a brief run-down of what I'd be covering over the first couple of classes, and filled me in on "Sniffy" the cyber rat, which is a computer lab rat used for class experiments rather than a real one... we don't want to get the little freshman kiddies all grossed out and freaked with real rats, being that this is a mere introductory course taken by a big bunch of non-majors anyway, so the cyber rat steps in. Okay, I'm with him at this point, and I tell him that I'm looking forward to working with him and his class. Then he says that he's a little confused because, for some reason, the department has assigned him two grad students for the job, and he feels that only one would really be necessary. With that, he says he'll give me a call when he knows more, but that he's assuming he'll just need me (or the other person?) rather than two of us, and that he needs to talk to the department head to figure out what's going on. Great. More uncertainty, more waiting.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to contact the other professor for whom I'm supposed to be an R.A., but only after I've finalized my schedule with the first prof for whom I'm T.A.-ing. Okay, so if I wait, I look like a negligent scatterbrain who failed to contact the professor in a timely manner, yet I look silly and pointless by jumping the gun and contacting her anyway. Hoping for the best, I opted for silly and pointless. I sent her an email, explaining the situation with the first prof, and giving her a summary of my schedule, or at least in its tentative state. With any luck, the information I gave her will be enough for her to get an idea of when I'm at her disposal, and everything will work out fine. In any case, I still have to wait for her to get back to me with an answer, which amounts to... you guessed it... more waiting. Gee. I never saw it coming. Oh, hold on... oh...uh... okay. My eyes have rolled all the way back into my head.

So, to sum up: I may or may not be teaching a lab, which will partially determine when I'm available to fulfill my research duties. All is not lost, of course; at the very least, I know I'll definitely be an R.A. this semester. Then again, she hasn't responded, so, for all I know, there may be some kind of mix-up with that as well. Whatever... I've done my little song and dance, and no one can say I didn't.

Speaking of songs and dances, I stopped by the financial aid office to make sure everything on my end was done and accounted for. Apparently, it wasn't. A form I had filled out online (as I was instructed by the financial aid office to do) never arrived at the office. "We've been having trouble with the system," the pretty clerk behind the counter told me. In other words, two weeks had gone by, and the paperwork hadn't yet been processed for my student loans. Flustered and annoyed, I sat in the office and filled out yet another copy of the form, this time by hand and in person, after which I was informed by the clerk that, due to the delay of not receiving that form, I would have to wait a bit longer for my financial aid refund to come through. Well, sure. Of course I'll wait. What else can I possibly do? I mean, I could try to rob the place or something, but I'd likely have to wait to get any money then, too.

Oh, but there's more! After several failed attempts at getting my student I.D., I finally came to their office to find that, for the first time in weeks, the machinery used for taking the pictures and making the cards is fully operational. Fantastic! Now I can get my I.D. and stop showing the security guards my crumpled, many-stained acceptance letter as proof that I'm not some random vagrant trying to sneak onto campus and pose as a college student for weird kicks. (No, really... I was told to carry my acceptance letter around in lieu of an I.D.; of course, if I had known that sooner, I would have taken better care of that acceptance letter.) I'm standing in from of a blue cloth that's hanging from a metal bar behind me, and I'm beaming at the camera, filled with the joy of knowing I can finally get rid of that folded-up crinckled mess of a letter once and for all. The flash goes off, and I walk to the window where I'm to pick up my card. "Oh, the machine that makes the cards is messed up," mumbles the barely post-pubescent male clerk. "You'll have to come by tomorrow to pick it up."

Yeah. That's right. Laugh. If it weren't me, I'd be laughing with you. Other people's pain can be pretty damn funny, no matter what the bleeding-hearts tell you.

Interesting... in waiting around and doing next to nothing these past few days, I suppose I was preparing. Now I'm an absolute pro at waiting. Watch... I can do it with my eyes closed, hand behind my back, knee in my ear, elbow on the cat... that's right folks... class-A graduate student, at your service, waiting-game champion extraordinaire. With honors. Ah well... such is the nature of being a student, isn't it? Right. So yes, I'm officially back at school. Waiting.


Anonymous John Sauvey said...

Congratulations!! Hell has finally frozen over, John and Emily are professors! I don't have a fucking clue where to start but in true Emily fashion, I'm gonna wing it.... John and I are so proud of you, I'll call you soon. Love you, JOhn

Thursday, August 25, 2005 1:03:00 PM  

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