Wednesday, May 28, 2008

If I Fall to the Flames - It Will be Defiantly

The oppressive nature of my academic situation continues to drive colleagues away. The requirements placed upon people in my field now run at close to 700% of my previous academic situation. The person I knew from UO when I was recruited here last year was forced to take a leave of absence to realign her life before I even arrived here this past fall. I think it unlikely she will return to continue her program here despite the fact she was awarded a very prestigious package to continue - she declined it last year and left school. The person who was admitted with me was forced to withdraw this quarter and I don't know if she will be back in the future to continue. This is easily the worst quarter of my life for a variety of reasons but mostly because of endless hours of Greek translation that don't relent or allow for significant progression. Even though Latin is my most important language, and is difficult in it's own right, the Greek requirements here are something else entirely, akin to being tortured in the deepest bowels of hell. Up to this point, despite extreme difficulty, I have passed through my history classes with the absolute highest of marks. My situation with my advisor is ideal, but the obstacles placed in front of me by other scholars here are very formidable. I am improving, but the progression lies on a razor's edge. It is not necessarily likely I can pass the final in my current history seminar because it is purely Greek translation of multiple passages of Polybius drawn randomly from the 88 chapters of book 1. There are no aids whatsoever and the grading criteria is absolutely brutal. Even if I had a dictionary, it would be beyond formidable because of the nuances the instructor expects. Of the 4 people remaining in the class, I have the least amount of Greek by at least 2 years. All of the others are ABD or soon to be. It is entirely likely I will outright fai the final and I don't know if it will be close enough to pass the class with the B- or higher required when the paper and participation are figured in. I can't drop at this time without causing other problems and if I get lower than a B- in this course, my future job prospects and reference support could be compromised. Consequently, I may not be able to justify continuing this trek for 4 more years, even if I were allowed to, because it would be hard for me to continue to be willing to endure the time away from my daughter if the dubious nature of future job prospects became even more corrupted. I have eliminated my Italian course this week to provide more time for taking this final, but I don't like my last few years of academic life coming down to one test in a single course. If I get by this, I will be fine by the time my QE's are taken. I've got 11 days to prepare, but it wouldn't matter if it were ten more weeks - that's how screwy the situation is. In any case - wish me luck! If I flail, I will still fade to oblivion very defiantly. Hopefully, I will not be the latest casualty of many, but we'll see. In my field, I am wading at a level here well beyond my prior school - it's not even in the same realm. This was the reason I was sent here, but it's hard to gamble as many years as I have invested on this situation.