Salvete, omnes!! Welcome to my shiny new blog! Because as everyone knows, what the internet needs is one more blog!
I am graduate student in Classical Languages at a university in the mid-western US. As of April 25th, I am ABD. That is, All But Done. Or All But Dissertation. All But DrowninginBooks? All But Doom/Despair? Some day maybe it will stand for A Bored (Brilliant?) Doctor, but for the next three-ish years of dissertation-writing, I refer you to the first four options.
For the last three years, I’ve been teaching, taking classes, and ploughing through the nine exams pre-candidates need to pass in order to achieve candidacy. Also, writing papers for classes and conferences, and trying to learn to read German and Italian. What all of this means, as most grad students will tell you, is No Free Time. See also: No Life, No Fun, and No Way They Expect Me to Do All That By Next Week!
I’m also a costumer and seamstress in general. I go to Renaissance Faires in garb, cosplay at anime conventions, dress up for movie midnight showings (who’s excited for The Hobbit?!), and sometimes even sew *cough* normal things! I also make kanzashi (Japanese hair flowers), and try to knit. Emphasis on try — I have yet to form that special bond with yarn needed to be a certifiably awesome knitter.
And so we return to my being ABD. The fourth year in my program is dedicated to getting the new dissertation candidates up and running by giving them as much time as possible to research, read, and think about their new project. No classes or exams, no teaching and grading. It is, as one of my 4th-year colleagues said, “the magical fourth year.” And during the MFY, everyone pulls out their Candidacy List, that list of fun, relaxing, non-academic things they’ve been wanting but unable to do for the last three years.
“Start a blog” was not on my list, but at some point I decided I wanted a place where I could talk about both my academic and my “fun” experiences, about what it’s like to write a dissertation and what potentially off-the-wall things I’m going to do to survive it. I’ll admit, part of me just wants to prove to the world that it’s possible to be both a grad student studying dead languages and a cosplayer in a waist-length blue wig and shoulder pads the size of watermelons. Costumers come from all walks of life, but when you tell your Latin professor you cosplay, odds are high you’ll get 1) looked at oddly, 2) looked down on, 3) misunderstood, 4) all of the above. You know that imaginary opponent you’re supposed to be responding to when writing essays in college? Yeah, I have one of those in my head, except that his objection is always, “But that’s so immature/unprofessional/ridiculous! People will laugh at you!”
To him I say, well, nothing, because I’m too busy trying to get my hoop skirt to sit properly over my bum roll. I’ll probably spend some posts talking about misconceptions about costuming and/or anime, and I’ll definitely spend a looot of posts whining about the challenges of making a costume based on screen shots of a character wearing an outfit with no seams, no zippers/clasps/hooks, and no regard for the laws of gravity. But mostly I’ll be sharing my projects-in-progress, photos from cons and Faires and other events, dissertation woes and (I hope) triumphs, and other tales of what happens when Latin meets Arda Wigs.
Let the Magical Fourth Year begin!