I’m experiencing a little bit of an intellectual burnout this semester. I kind of want to crawl under a rock and draw pictures of animals with colored pencils, or ride my bike around Forest Lawn all day. Not that I’m not still interested in the things I’ve been thinking about lately, but I have been feeling the drain of other demands, and they’ve been taking momentum away from the bigger projects, and I just don’t have the energy to focus on all the things I have to do as well as the things I want to do. It’s kind of ironic, though, because I feel like the reason I am in graduate school should be to work on these bigger things. I’m a little disappointed and am feeling a bit of a crisis of faith in what I’m doing now. As I told Feliz the other day, though, I kind of feel like I can’t do this any other way, though, and this is a step toward where I want to be.

I’m still trying to cling furiously to the ideas I developed earlier this semester. I went out and bought Late Marxism on Anna’s recommendation, as a companion to Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory and Negative Dialectics. I’m excited to see that other people are interested in what I have to say on this topic. I’m hoping this summer gives me time to do some serious reading. One of the weird things I’ve been finding is just that I’m way more well-read than any 23-year-old is expected to be, but I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle when it comes to finding, absorbing, and understanding ideas. There’s just too much out there. That’s probably another reason I feel kind of burnt out at the moment.

I think it’s also a little tough for me, because politically I’ve been doing a lot more wrangling than I had been. There’s the GSA election, there’s PHEEIA, and there’s a lethargic, willfully ignorant group of people to contend with. Some days I just feel like I care way more than anybody else does, or at least that I’m trying harder. And then sometimes I wonder if I’m just insane, and all this is just too much. I get lost sometimes when I try to explain myself to people. But it seems to be working alright. That’s the other thing — explaining myself doesn’t seem to be going well for me.

I have mixed feelings about my first year review, which happened on Friday. I was — and still am, somewhat — incensed at the way I was treated, and especially the way some of my friends were treated. It’s one thing to give someone a hard time, ask them hard questions, and challenge them, but it’s another altogether to be rude and unprofessional. Maybe I shouldn’t be blogging that much about this, but it’s really been kind of demoralizing for me. I mean, they want to see what you’ve been doing in your first year, and for the most part, the things I’ve been working on have been superstructures and frameworks. These aren’t things that are going to be finished in one academic year, nor are they things that are going to be perfect.

Yet the small moves I’ve made toward implementing “real work” and thinking about that “real work” in the context of the superstructures I’ve been building are kind of hard to explain in fifteen minutes. I was really frustrated by the fact that there wasn’t time to talk about how these things work. And, under the impression that I was going to get more support — or, in other words, more real feedback — I tried to draw a sketch of this superstructure and show three very disparate things I’ve been working on and how I think they fit. First, I don’t think that really worked well. Second, I was really put off by the tone of the entire operation. Third, I was intentionally more aggressive than I probably should have been as a result. Eh. It’s too complex for me to want to write about at the moment.

Hopefully the end of the semester is the end to my brain cheese.

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