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JustJames said

Academia and Tea Catharsis:

do you find that tea purges your stress? soothes the furrows as you wait for a grade, deal with a persnickety prof or that student that endlessly asks for extensions?

vent! sip! tell us all about it!

190 Replies

Enjoying Monkey-Picked white from the tea spot, thinking about all the smart ass remarks I’d like to say back to my prof in response to her comments on my paper.

I wish I only had to worry about studying for exams. Papers creeping into finals week is just not cool.

I am so ready for the holiday break!!!

JustJames said

i’m with you on that one…. come tuesday i will be so much happier. it’s not fun with projects and exams together.

Fjellrev said

Don’t you just hate when profs concentrate everything at the very end of the semester, both papers and exams? I mean, really?

I have to write one (albeit short) paper (but in German, gah..) due on the date of the final and I have another longer paper draft with more comments than I deem reasonable, that I have to fix up also during finals weeks. I’m sure all up and coming instructors make promises of such good intention as this, but I am not going to pile up the projects during finals week when I’m in charge. Im not! It’s bad enough that there is no such thing as dead week anymore for most schools. Except law school. .don’t get me started on that…

The special accommodations those hoity toity almost-lawyers get!!! My husband is one of them. . he gets a dead week AND two weeks for finals so that he gets ample time between all tests. . since, naturally, law school is so humanly impossibly that the students require such accommodations that no other undergrad OR grad student gets. ugh. .well, so I started myself on this rant. . just couldn’t help it. :p

Fjellrev said

Is a dead week like a Reading Week, in that you get a week off to relax (but in reality, to catch up on papers and assignments)? That is definitely unfair. Most students have a heavy workload and could use a break. Hell, I don’t know about your university, but here, most universities have a “Reading Week” in February because that is apparently when suicide rates are on the rise.

Good luck on your papers, especially the one in German! I had to do the same and they were pretty tough.

A reading week, never heard of that. I mean, we get spring break, of course, but nothing designated as a hw week. As far as im aware, besides law students, ivy league schools have a dead week before finals (=> no classes). Now, other universities are calling the last week of classes ‘dead week’ not even knowing what that is supposed to mean.

Fjellrev said

Oh I see, that is strange. Everyone should definitely get at least a week before writing exams for sure. It’s luckily been like that at the universities I’ve attended. You end class this week but your exams don’t start until the 13th or so.

Are you in the US? I’ve attended 3 different universities (in Montana, Florida, and now Wyoming) and exams started immediately after the last day of class in all of them. These are all on a semester schedule, maybe tri-semsester schools are different? Oh well, the extra stress builds character! :D

yyz said

One of my universities had reading week in each semester. Sometimes people do go away, but many use it to study, get ahead on assignments or pick up shifts at work. My first university had a fall semester of only twelve weeks, so we only had spring break. The profs used to complain bitterly about the short semesters though as they felt they didn’t have enough time to present neew material.

Fjellrev said

I’m in Canada, and all the universities I know of seem to give students a week between the end of class and the beginning of exams, luckily. That is brutal that you start ripping into exams as soon as classes begin! Best of luck to you these next couple weeks!

Uniquity said

“reading week” is a Canadian thing too. We don’t get spring break, but we do get a miserable week in February to catch up. It’s not nearly as fun as it sounds. When I was in uni a few years ago our exams were starting about 2 days after classes ended but it depending on the timing of your exams. I had to write two in one day once which seemed inhuman to me since I am a crammer and had an hour in between.

Fjellrev said

I never understood all the students who would actually go skiiing to Banff or even go to Mexico or the Dominican Republic during Reading Week. Like seriously? It is a very miserable week of catching up on papers, for sure. Either those people took classes with lighter workloads, went to school P/T, or just didn’t try hard and were barely passing.

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JustJames said

like Shelley_Lorraine above me i am trying to alternately soothe and boost myself through final projects and exams. someone must have won a professional sadism award for making a project/exam lasagna that counts for so bloody much!

butiki’s pumpkin milkshake is in my cup….. and it’s not working!!!!! hmph.

time to go and dig in one of my swap envelopes maybe.

Fjellrev said

Geez, lasagna is right. That lasagna better be worth it in the end, pedagogical-wise and grades-wise.

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Sil select said

Not a student but tea is totally my 5 mins of regroup my thoughts before I tell someone off at work on insane days. :)

Fjellrev said

I’m going to have to try this method sometime. :)

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I’m writing my graduate thesis and it’s one of the few things preventing me from unraveling. I always have a cup beside my computer when I write.

JustJames said

what’s your thesis on? (if i may be so nosy)….

Not nosy at all! ;) I’m a literary nonfiction student, and my thesis is a collection of nature essays.

Fjellrev said

I hope your thesis is going well. I’m having a hard enough time getting my PROPOSAL done, which is 21 pages and counting. You’re right, tea has been a great companion.

JustJames said

i am nowhere near either one of you! nowhere near that stage…. someday, not yet though. =0)

Incendiare, sounds like you’re in a much different subject if your proposal has to that long. I mean, WOW.

I just realized that while I had to write a proposal for my undergraduate thesis, I didn’t have to for graduate. Odd.

Fjellrev said

I guess it depends on the university too. Are you attending the same university as you did during your undergrad?

I’m sure by the time I’m finished with my revisions, it’ll be over 30 pages. Sigh. Then again, grad students in the same field in another university in this province apparently only have to write a three-page (maximum, too) proposal. So jealous of them haha.

I go to a different college. My undergraduate is far too small to have a graduate school (around 600 students these days). It might’ve helped me more if I had to write a proposal – I’m still having trouble brainstorming ideas. Just one more. Or maybe two. Grrrrr.

Oy, what a discrepancy! Since you’re spending so much time on the proposal alone, are you thesising for two semesters?

Fjellrev said

Ah, that may explain it then. But for what it’s worth, I didn’t have to write a proposal in my undergrad either, and I don’t think it was necessary anyway. I’m sure you’d agree that it was writing an undergrad/honours thesis that really helped you develop a taste for grad school. I hope you’re at least getting enough support from your supervisor, because that could also make or break you.

I’m not even sure what is going to happen with me. Here, it’s recommended that you write and defend your thesis proposal (yeah, you have to defend the proposal too. Kind of strange) by this time in your second year so you have next semester to conduct your research, analyze the results and write the actual thesis, but I’m falling behind on finishing and defending the proposal since my supervisor was away second term last year, and unavailable for the majority of the summer, so I couldn’t get much done like other students did, plus I’m taking a course (which has been twice the work as other grad seminars thanks to the prof’s expectations) and auditing another one, am TAing, took a TA prep course, etc, preventing me from getting the proposal out of the way. I’m aiming at defending my thesis by August, though.

Sorry, rambling away here.

My adviser is definitely supportive and likes my writing. We’ve only had two meetings so far – I’m taking a simple and very independent route. I write, he edits and comments.

My goodness! Lots of luck to you for everything.

Fjellrev said

Nice, I’m glad to hear that everything is working out with your adviser. :)

Thanks, I need it. Between personal experience and all the reading I’ve done on academia/job prospects, I’m definitely pulling the plug after I finish this degree!

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Dinosara said

Having recently made the shift from student to professor I will probably avoid this thread… I am that persnickety prof now! :P

JustJames said

that’s a good point…. exclusion is not fair. let me change the wording. HAH! so you’re DR dinosara! nice!!!!

My end goal is to be a prof.

I can’t wait to be on the other side! ;)

Dinosara said

Haha I appreciate the inclusion! :D Yeah, students complain about faculty and faculty complain about students. The endless circle!

JustJames said

=0) it keeps the equation balanced.

OMGsrsly said

I work at a university and eat lunch outside a few offices. WOW, do the profs ever complain about students. Listening really teaches you who’s interested in helping people learn, and who only teaches so they can do research. I wish that those not interested in teaching weren’t required to.

JustJames said

i would guess there are people in lots of professions that that is an accurate statement for, sadly. =0(

i see it alot in doctors…. burnout happens alot, unfair expectation via personality matching and vocation happens: you can be a brilliant scientist and be a total dud with people. sigh.

i wonder if i’m the type of student they complain about? lol. i’m a p&p….Polite but Persistent. i bludgeon them into giving me good marks by drowning them in mass amount of information, lol.

Fjellrev said

You’re right OMGsrsly. Even now as a TA, the profs have been complaining about the students, and while some of it is understandable (like laziness, attitude, etc) a lot of it is unwarranted and I kind of feel bad for the students sometimes. I see far too many profs miserably sauntering off to a class they don’t even want to teach because they’d rather be chasing after their funding or getting published in X journal. Definitely an unhealthy environment for everyone.

OMGsrsly said

James, you might be annoying, but doing the research and backing up your claims is what grad school and publishing is all about. :)

Incendiare, the researchers who are lucky are those who’ve received $$$ and can buy themselves out of teaching each semester. Not possible in every field, I’m afraid. Thankfully I’ve had a few “Lecturers” (not profs!) who have been supremely excellent. They still research and publish, but not with the output required for tenure.

Dinosara said

Ok, this is why I wanted to stay away from this thread, but these are replies to my original post, so…

Just remember that for every professor that doesn’t really want to be teaching, there are the undergrads that are just in college to party or because that’s whats expected of them, not to learn, and the grad students who are there because they are delaying entering the workforce and think it sounds like an ok alternative. Also for every unwarranted complaint about a student there are those about faculty.

Like we established before, it goes both ways.

Fjellrev said

I completely agree with you, Dinosara. I can’t imagine how stressful it would be to be a professor. I would certainly find it hard not to get frustrated with lazy students who are just there to party, or grad students who don’t know what to do with their lives so just try to coast on by doing the minimum. Hell, as a student, I get annoyed with these people because I feel like they’re wasting everyone’s time.

That said, for a plethora of other reasons on top of what I wrote above, I’m not bothering going on with my PhD and becoming a professor/sessional lecturer (and especially try to score tenure), and that’s a lot coming from someone who dreamt of doing that for over ten years.

JustJames said

my dearest dr. dinosara, i am very glad you did NOT recuse yourself from this thread! while it is unwise in principle to make sweeping statements, it is my OBSERVATION that most steepsters are articulate, conscientious, striving individuals. which is excellent. tea breeds a strong bunch i suppose? lol. of course you are no exception.

i was never the party type. but i was miserable at university the first time round for a whole separate set of reasons. it takes all kinds— and more than that, as we evolve through different stages of progression we both become and may appear as different people.

muddy enough? we’re glad you’re here. i’m sorry i set up the discussion one sidedly initially. i was in error.

OMGsrsly said

Sorry, Dinosara. I work in academia and unfortunately I’m getting really cynical about the whole academic institution. I know it goes both ways, but I get so tired of hearing the complaining. I’d totally move my lunch table if there were any where else to put it!

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I NEED tea. Weather to just tune out of all the BS going on or to help put me to sleep at night. Peppermint tea is awesome for headaches by the way. It’s pretty much one of the few things that helps me get up in the morning; thinking about what cup I will make.

Considering how stressful and cruddy my new college is I would say that tea is my life line. It’s something that I can drink and enjoy. Plus no hangover. (X^D)

Fjellrev said

I agree, the worst you can do is get tea drunk.

JustJames said

=0D

@Incendiare: The worst is when you get Tea drunk while you are working and trying to finish projects at 11 PM.

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JustJames said

OKAY!!!!!! just found out i got the highest average in my scariest class…. and the presentation i was ready to go to war over actually boosted my average from 89 to 89.9. HOME STRETCH! DAMN i worked so hard on that project.

i am going to go and drink the treat that Sil sent me: wedding imperial by mariage freres.

one more to go: project and exam. and when i nail those i will open the fauchon that MissB gave me and try ‘naissance’ for the first time…… but i’m not there yet.

KETTLE!!!!! here i come!!!!!

Fjellrev said

Congratulations, James! That’s great incentive, leaving certain teas for the finish line. I purposely had my Butiki teas shipped to my address in AB so I could only touch them once the semester will be over and I’ll be at my mom’s for the holidays. Butiki here I come!

That boost indeed calls for a celebration! Congrats!

JustJames said

one stressor down….. now for the second project while studying for the second exam…. yay sadism!! lol.

KiwiDelight, how are your finals going?

I haven’t had finals since I graduated college. But once I had to turn in a portfolio.

JustJames said

and now i’m envious….

Oh, it’s not any less stressful, believe me. Although it is nice to not have to study for exams from multiple courses.

Best part of being a writing student: being able to write creative essays about tea. Aw yiss.

Fjellrev said

Yeah, I think in a way I prefer papers over exams? I don’t know. You can at least cram and get it over with. With papers, you can spend forever on them and you’re never satisfied, especially these pesky grad papers. But Kiwi is right, it’s also nice to not have to cram for multiple exams. Both scenarios suck in their own ways.

The worst of all is an essay exam. Gave me stomach aches each time.

JustJames said

okay, and there i disagree….. i’ve done 100K manuscripts. essays are dead easy for me. exams….. the trickery of multiple choice?? argh!

I had trouble organizing the essays without any per-preparation (I favor outlines greatly, even for creative essays). I actually became much more confident by my senior year, and doing close analysis of literature/poetry became much easier. Looking back, high school in class essays were THE worst.

I took a Psych 101 and the multiple choice was so friggin’ difficult. I hear you.

Fjellrev said

I think it depends on the type of paper and exam. Multiple choice, I agree, sucks. Hate it! Even T/F can be annoying. Give me a final with short- and long-answer.

I agree, some papers can be dead easy, but with some of the one’s I’ve been writing at the grad level, they are by far more difficult than undergrad level in terms of expectations, requirements, and approach.

Ooooooo short answer was the best.

JustJames said

YES! short, to the point. i don’t docked marks for going over 1000 words, lol (it happens alot). nice and clear!

yyz said

Congrats on the marks James. I used to always get into trouble for going over the word count too. Though I have to wonder at the focus on marks sometimes. A generation before mine, myuncle got into a masters program with high 60’s and my dad was accepted in a PhD programme in psych at Harvard with mid 70’s. I’m jealous he got to meet Carl Jung among others.

OMGsrsly said

How about take home essay exams. 50+ pages of writing (it was 10-15 pages on 5 questions!). I feel so sorry for the prof marking them. Grades at my institution have to be in within 2 days of the exam.

JustJames said

@OMGsrsly i think i’d be okay on either side of that one, lol. at least as long as i had tea and some good music. though i get snappish i people don’t punctuate or if they repeat the same word too frequently.

@yyz i’ve heard it said more and more frequently that we are breeding a generation of people that can do only one thing. if we have to get the very highest marks can we really afford to expand our horizons into related subject matter? to many it’s too much a roll of the dice. the focus has to be narrow and very, very good.

your dad met jung? lol. the other day i was explaining to my poor geography prof why i had needed to branch into psychology to debunk the subject matter. i can imagine the opposite conversational tack with jung: ‘this is just like human geography, don’t you see?’ lol.

i need a cup of tea….. i’m toying with the idea of trying my chocolate chai……

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Josie Jade said

I’m finishing up my first semester of nursing school. It was a big change having to get up at 4 am to get to the hospital for clinic, and some mornings I swear the only reason I get up is because I’m excited for a warm cup of tea. I drink black tea all day long to feel focused and awake, and sometimes a decaf at night to fall asleep. As long as I’m making good grades I don’t feel bad for buying so many new teas, either! :)

JustJames said

i really think tea is a sound investment. maybe it’s self justifying, who knows, but it’s healthy, it wakes me up, it hugs me after a bad day? lol!!

Fjellrev said

4am is brutal! But that’s awesome how tea motivates you to get up. I hope you were able to get used to such a sleeping schedule.

yyz said

certainly understand the value of a good cup of caffeine with early morning shifts. I once had a job where I was sometimes at work between 3:15 and 4 in the morning. The idea of food would make me nautious. So at that time, I would usuallyaim to be at work early in order to slowly nurse a couple of coffees, before being able to adopt the bright chippert persona required at that job. It wasn’t a difficult though we had a lot of fun!

Josie Jade said

I slowly got used to it. I’m a night owl, so the hardest thing was not staying up late in bed reading !

yyz said

Good for you! I’m sometimes nocturnal,so the early shifts were difficult. We didn’t have a consistent schedule so as as result my internal clock really doesn’t function anymore. The really early shifts some people just would save going to sleep until they got home from work.

Yay nursing school! Well, not the early morning clinicals. I definitely was happy when I went to night shift…still am, actually. I can not imagine doing 7A-7P for a living. :)

Josie Jade said

I’m worried next semester because the schedule will most likely change – just when I got used to it!

JoonSusanna – I can’t imagine doing to 7-7 either! You’d miss all of the sunshine! Do you ever get bored/sleepy on the night shift, though? I

I don’t, actually. I feel like there’s always something for me to do, whether its reading up on patient notes or attending to some of the paperwork/education needs of my job. Plus, there’s always tea to be made if at 4 AM I do suddenly find myself lagging.

I’ve been on the night shift for nearly a year now and could never see myself doing it any other way. :)

Hopefully your semester gets done soon- and you get a nice long break before heading back to the grind!

Josie Jade said

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about night shift, JoonSusanna! I love hearing from nurses about their experiences.

I’m all done! My final was this morning. The teachers accidentally put our grades up (we take our tests on the computer, so sometimes our grades show up when they shouldn’t) and I was happy with mine. I’m so close to an A. I hope my grade goes up after they grade the dosage calc part of the exam that we had to type in. Less than 2 points away from an A! Although honestly for once in my life I could live with a B.

JustJames said

congratulations Josie Jade! easier to breath, huh?

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JustJames said

4 am is when i swap my investment over to matcha and mate =0)

Matecha! or Matcha’te!

mars1 select said

Machete!

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Sammerz314 said

Anyone dealing with Comprehensive exams right now?

JustJames said

oooh, not officially, though the way they’re layering projects, exams and presentations it’s not too fr off it think. but i’m not a graduate student.

Fjellrev said

So lucky that I’m not, and won’t. If you are, then best of luck to you. I can’t even imagine.

Josie Jade said

My final is comprehensive. How do you even start to review for a final that covers a 4-inch Fundamentals of Nursing textbook?! I’m just going to hit the highlights and keep it moving. If I didn’t fail any exams, surely I won’t fail the final, right?! That’s what I’m counting on.

Good luck to everyone!!

Sammerz314 said

I will be craming for about 2 weeks for my Measure Theory comprehensive exam. Hopefully a nice puerh will help me out.

JustJames said

puerh works for me, but i’ve found mate more effective works better to kick my brain in gear.

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