I had a plethora of things to blog about this past week but none of them are going to make it into this post. Instead, I wish to issue an apology.
I apologize profusely to anyone who was on line behind me at the Dana Library Computer lab this morning. Moreover, I apologize to the poor computer technician who was stuck with a jammed printer not once but twice due to my stack of printing making the entire operation explode. To be fair, I have a feeling the technical malfunctions had more to do with the printer duplex being bad than my Jubilee-like Mutant powers.
Today, I took the dive and invested a great deal of time into creating something pivotal to my continual perseverance and eventual conquest over the Master’s Reading Exam List. Flash back to about a year ago when I first encountered the list. As my eyes scanned down the page I was struck by a sudden lightheadedness, a dizzy sensation compounded by the gravity of the situation at hand. “Good god,” I thought, “this is a lot of stuff to read.” After the brief I-wasn’t-an-English-major-in-undergrad heart attack passed, I realized something else. “Good god, this is a lot of stuff to buy.”
The rising cost of living has demanded many things from the poor graduate student. Amongst these things is a sad truth; we very rarely have money for spare books. I know that the books on the Master’s Reading Exam list aren’t exactly “spare books”, they are required reading for my degree. For all intents and purposes, they qualify as course books. I need them. I can’t do without them. The fate of my diploma rests in their hands.
I know, I know, my mother said it too. “But Danielle, you could just go to the library and borrow these books for free!” Well, no not really. If I am going to retain any of the information in these books, if I am going to read them critically, if I am going to have anything to say about them when all has been said and done, I need to write all over them. Word to the wise English major: get over your phobia of marking up texts as soon as humanly possible. Glossing a text makes it yours and moreover allows you to process what you are reading as you are reading it. It gives you the ability to interact with the reading thus making the reading experience into a conversation rather than a one-way entertainment situation. So no, I can’t just borrow them from the library. I need my own copies.
Luckily, there is a fabulous resource for this sort of thing. A wonderful magical place where information is freely and plentifully available. A place where texts abound in all sorts of scholarly and non-scholarly forms. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the internet has revolutionized text acquisition.
After several hours of googling, copying, pasting, printing, causing printer jams and binding the resulting spoils into adorable binders organized by time period, I now own at least two thirds of the Master's Reading Exam list.
Part of me feels guilty. Like this stack of papers is ill-gotten goods. Piratical booty which required a parrot and an eye patch to acquire. I am not joking when I say that the resulting pile from my marathon printing session was at least a ream and a half worth of paper (printed double-sided by the way… oi vey…). Then I realized: this printing isn’t free, it’s part of my tuition. I paid for this in my semester bill. This isn’t piracy, this is smart business practices. I’m not stealing, I’m simply making the most of my hard-earned loan money.
So, I’m sorry lab guy. I’m sorry adorable undergrad who only wanted to print a draft of her summer research paper. I’m sorry whomever has to re-stock the paper (I cleaned out at least two drawers worth in two different R2D2-sized printers). But my wallet just couldn’t handle the MRE list without this.