The costs of graduation

I generally consider myself an intelligent person. But, somehow, graduate school makes me question that assessment.
Is is the coursework? No, not really. I feel that I am keeping up well with the classes that I am taking. I get along well with my professors, and find the work interesting, and usually enjoyable. I am maintaining a 4.0 GPA, and my family and teachers all suggest that I should consider pursuing a PhD.
Is it the stress? While it is debatable whether it can be considered intelligent to subject oneself to the necessary stresses of graduate school, part-time or full-time, with a corresponding work schedule, the stresses are acceptable, even if the difference in pay scales between a BA and an MA in English is not quite as great as I might like.

It started with the graduation fair.

My parents and I have an agreement- since they have paid for the education, they must experience the end product. Basically, I must participate in the graduation ceremony, or else refund them the cost of my schooling. I don’t object to the arrangement- the Leo part of me enjoys the ceremony, pomp, and circumstance.
After planning my FSIL’s bridal shower and my brother’s wedding, I’m a little partied out, so I was hoping to skip the graduation party. My parents, I think, want one. Fine, I can accept a little extra stress around planning a get-together.
Naturally, I asked how many formal announcements I ought to be purchasing in order to alert the masses of relatives, family friends, and other individuals to my impending change in educational status. I was told that a mere 50 would suffice. In fact, that and my Master’s hood were all that I would need to complete my graduation package.

I walked into the graduation fair and was handed a pricing list, and immediately felt shock. As I said, I consider myself an intelligent person. However, my hypothesis for the overall cost of all of these items was perhaps around one hundred dollars. After all, the only things I actually needed were 50 printed pieces of paper and a three-foot bundle of fabric.

Oh, was I wrong. First of all, the announcements are priced at $49.95. That is per set of 25, taking the cost of announcements up to nearly $100. Then, they charge a $10 delivery fee and 9.75% tax. For the extra convenience of return address labels, it is a mere $10 per 60. Already, for the privilege of official notification, I was going to be charged $130.

Next was the issue of the hood. First of all, CSULB, in its collective wisdom, uses a rental company to provide the caps and gowns for its graduates. The rental package for the MA includes a gown (with specially-cut sleeves that differ from the BA and gold cording at the yoke), a cap (with Cal State Long Beach painted on to the top in orangey-gold paint), a tassel (in case you misplaced your original), and the hood (in discipline-appropriate color). For the privilege of using this package for one day, except for the cap, which you may keep, the cost is a reasonable $55. I was tempted, but I really wanted to keep my hood. However, when I asked about that possibility, it was revealed to me that the cost of the hood (by itself) was $129. Plus delivery. Plus tax. I would pay nearly three times the cost of renting the whole outfit for a white-lined hood about three feet in length.

This is after paying the thousands of dollars in tuition, fees, books, transportation, and after thousands of hours invested in commuting, studying, researching, and writing. Couldn’t they just throw in the cost of the damn hood?

I don’t normally consider myself unintelligent, but in the case of the hood, I admit that I may allow them to extort my money for the sentimental value of a scrap of fabric that will likely end up hanging on my wall like a drab black-and -white flag of academic surrender.


So, here I am, just over one year later.
I’m still in graduate school (my last semester), working on my MA in English.
My grandmother passed away on March 18, at the age of 89.
Mark finally got his career going last August, and now works for Massage Envy.
I taught Appreciation of Literature last semester, and would have done so again this semester if there hadn’t been an un-fixable scheduling conflict. I had the choice to either teach or take the last class I needed for graduation. I chose to graduate.
I found out about this scheduling conflict on the day of my brother’s wedding, two days before the start of the semester. Yeah, that wasn’t stressful at all… 🙂
On the very positive note, I got engaged on Christmas Eve, and am now trying to plot a wedding sometime in August 2012. Unfortunately, all this school-type stuff seems to be taking precedence, especially since I have one big, fat, scary comprehensive exam on May 6, which determines whether or not my graduation is for real, or if I have to study again for the fall.
In the middle of all of this is the job search. I somehow didn’t equate the early application dates for education jobs with the reality of trying to do research, writing a CV and a personal statement, and scrounging for letters of recommendation in the middle of normal classwork and a part-time job.
All of these things give me a tendency to rant. Therefore, I will probably be posting more often. I may even manage to get the site updated with additional art and poetry, though, as you may have noticed, I almost always hope to get the site updated, and not much happens. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, huh?

Missing my life

The one thing I hate most about grad school is the way that I constantly feel like I’m missing my own life. Because of my crazy schedule where I’m gone at least thirteen and a half hours a day, four days a week, I’m never home, so I never see my parents. I only see my boyfriend on Fridays and Saturdays, since he’s working for our friend’s family on Sundays while I do my homework. Because I only see him two days a week, I never really take the time to see my other friends, who I miss like crazy. I need to just make arrangements to see them, and get over the whole boyfriend-time thing. But it sometimes feels like he’s the only safe harbor I have. I love my family, but sometimes, the whole expecting you will do well at everything gets a little overwhelming. He doesn’t keep reminding me of the next hurdle, just enjoys the time I have to spend with him. Sometimes he can be a little clingy, but I don’t mind too much, since I think that once we’re both in our careers, and maybe living at the same place, it will ease up.
I miss Lani. And Lena. I miss my extended family in Washington. I miss my big brother.
And I know that nothing will ease up until the end of May.
On a positive note, happy Spring Equinox/ Ostara!

And yet more procrastination.

Erin again.
I’m putting off the interminable 5 to 7 page compare and contrast paper that I’m supposed to do for my graduate seminar on the Victorians by playing around on the site, which I obviously haven’t updated much in years. Sigh.
However, I’m glad to be back in an English graduate program, even if it means writing all of these silly critical essays. If only I can convince myself to have an opinion, my paper might even be good. 🙂
I finally posted a real poem in the Poetry section. “Riddle” is something I wrote back in 11th grade, but I still like it. I’m planning to clean out my room over spring break, which may mean I end up posting a lot of new pictures, if I can ever get them scanned, cleaned, and posted.
The current plan involves updating this site a lot more often… but that’s almost always the plan, so no guarantees.
I hope to eventually have the “designs” section full of my line of womens’ bridal and formalwear designs. Maybe I’ll even eventually figure out how to sew.


Because I got distracted with Avatar, I now have 35 minutes to write a response to an essay and to read about 10 poems. Darn you, Lani! Darn you, Jay! Why do you have to be so darn interesting?!?


I have just realized I have no idea how to upload anything, after a few tries. Therefore, the poetry/stories/etc will have to wait until I can ask Lani for some advice. And get my papers turned in. Lucky me…
Anyway, I will refer to myself differently throughout the site, so for today, I think I’ll go by Serah. Why? Because I like it. It means cool stuff, and sounds like part of “seraphim”. Now why they aren’t the highest order of angel, I don’t know, ’cause honestly, who wants the cherubim to be best? It just doesn’t seem fair somehow. However, I think I better let my identity alone for the moment, and head off to write for French. God, I’m maybe doomed.

Happy Halloween

Hey everyone. Here for the first time, it’s Erin! Yep, I finally figured out how to log into my own site. I recognize I am a sad, sad luddite. I’ll try to work on it. So anyhow, I’m uploading a large amount of my hideous poetry in honor of Samhain, I guess. I finished my midterm, so lucky me, I have some time before I have to be anywhere. 🙂
I’ll be carving a pumpkin, hopefully something cool looking, whether or not it’s scary. Then again, French maids aren’t really scary either, unless you consider short skirts frightening. Which I do…
Anyhow, I’m a college student majoring in English, though I’m prepping for grad school in Library Science, scheduled to start next year. I work for a hotel, where disasters have abounded in my first three weeks, and spend far too much time reading, writing, reading, drawing, reading, and hanging out with my boyfriend, plus the occasional Dungeons and Dragons session. I am bookworm, hear me roar.


Well, it looks like Erin hasn’t gotten around to writing a post yet. But oh well, I’ve got some good news! I think. I just uploaded the rest of the pictures Erin wanted me to upload, so her gallery’s fuller than before.

By like, 4x.

There’s a total of 5 gallery categories. I’ve left most of the descriptions and stuff blank so when she has time it’ll be easier to go through each and edit, since I didn’t leave behind random comments 🙂

-> Lani/Alex/Divi


I’ve switched to WordPress for this site. Why? It’s simple and to me, it seems pretty idiot proof. They’ve (the wordpress peoples) got a good sense of humor, and it’s easily understood by even the non-web savvy. Erin will eventually come to help fill this site with random stuff.

Until then, I’m going to take care of it for her