04 July 2014

Stacks of Stickies

I just mailed off my final grad school paper. That paper, that's why I've been AWOL from the blogging front in the last few months; I've been up to my eyebrows in fairy tales (meaning I've been writing about them, not that what I'm telling you is one). But now it's done, one big treatise on "Cinderella", "Sleeping Beauty", "Beauty and the Beast", and "The Frog Prince". I'll be anxiously awaiting my mark, and then editing the thing for submission to my uni's thesis collection.

So the paper is sent in, and I feel slightly stunned that I'm actually done. Two-and-a-half years of study finished with one click of a button. It can't really be true, can it? But then, there's always one more thing to do after that button has been clicked: I have to de-sticky my research materials. Yes, you know, de-sticky? Take the sticky tags out of the books, of course. I might have mentioned once or thrice, marking books is evil and will get you smote by the library gods. But a grad school student (or indeed any other student) has to keep track of interesting points in books somehow, so, enter the sticky note. I go through pad after pad of those things in the course of my research, plastering them all over the margins of the books, sometimes adorning them with expressive arrows  (← !!!) or erudite comments such as "Does NOT!!" or "pfffffft!", or even, I hesitate to admit, the occasional "IDIOT!" (it's true. I found one like that this time. What can I say - I was justly incensed at a scholar's assessment of my favourite movie.).

So then, by the time I'm finished my writing, I don't need all those place markers any more, and the university library, slack though they may be about the state of their books (I once had one out that sported the dusty print of a running shoe sole across its front page spread), would probably not appreciate all those pink and orange and green bits of paper sticking out of the book. So I pull 'em all out again and pile them on my desk. One stack of stickies indicating just how educated I have become. Or how muddled, either way. It's the sure sign that I really am done with whatever piece of research I've been doing.

And then I dump the stickies into the garbage, take the library books back to the library and put my own books on my book shelf (or pile them on the floor, because there is absolutely no book shelf space to be had any more), and then - then I go and find myself a book to read or a movie to watch that has absolutely nothing to do with whatever I just finished studying. Fairy tales? Hmm, I think I'll read a Regency romance now, thank you. But don't worry, I'll be back to fairy tales soon enough. Even studying them as intensely as this hasn't soured me on the topic, and that, my friends, means that it really is my thing.

Life, the Universe, and Stacks of Stickies. The sign of the end of grad school studies.

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