How Being A Grad Student is Like Being A Saint

Saint Catherine of SienaHow Being a Grad Student is Like Being a Saint

Particularly in the humanities and in no particular order:

1. Poor. You are poor because you are doing something you love that a lot of people don’t value.

2. You sacrifice your well-being for the growth and enlightenment of others. This is called teaching on a grad stipend.

3. People might think you’re crazy now, but, if you’re right, someday they’ll admire your work.

4. Your quest toward enlightenment leads to the deterioration of relationships–friends, family, lovers: not all of them can take your devotion to your studies.

5. You are mocked or beloved. Or mocked and beloved.

6. People think you’re too serious, even if you think you have a sparkling sense of humor. (See also Between Heaven and Mirth. It’s lovely.)

7. Masochism. Some saints had hairshirts. We have grad school. We endure pain and humiliation in the name of self-betterment.

8. Crippling insecurity and seemingly delusional confidence.

9. You might get to wear a funny hat.

10. However radical you think you are, in the end you get canonized into the institution.

11. If you write enough, they call you Doctor

Note: This post brought to you by finals week. There are obviously some key differences between sainthood and grad school.

 

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