Tag Archives: Texas Tech


I just found an old document I took notes in my first week in grad school at Texas Tech. Apparently someone said, “This is your Julia Roberts year,” when referring to our first year of grad school?

I also heard, “We are all warriors in the fight against stupidity.”

Wisdom, man.

Found a bunch of photos I took in Texas, too. This includes excellent latte art and this typically massive truck, which also was intended to demonstrate how much space cars kept between each other when stopped at stop lights! It’s insane! Half a car’s length between cars!


Damn, Texas. You were a trip.

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a passion revived

It’s easy to blame grad school–I left unsure, angry, and defeated–but at some point, I stopped caring about English. Sure, Dickens’ 200th was a big deal, but other than DG book club, I’ve hardly laid a finger on literature, and certainly not on the broader specs of English.

That was, until, I got all nostalgic when my friends graduated from Tech. (Seriously, way to fucking go, guys. You are amazing.) I went into grad school thinking about the funny graduation robes and how sweet it would be to walk across that stage with a higher degree. That obviously didn’t happen. In the only way I could think to hold on to that dream, I signed up for ebay and started watching books. James Bond. Wilkie Collins. James Thomson. BHG.

Then I bid on one.

It arrived today.




This book. THIS BOOK. This book, right here, was almost the entirety of my existence at Texas Tech. I wrote a textual history on it for two classes. I earned a B grade in the other class (actually related to my specialization) because of this book. I didn’t sleep, drank wine at 5 am, ate a shitty Sonic breakfast, and borrowed books from east coast libraries because of this book.

And I can’t believe how fucking awesome I feel to own it. It’s like I bought a little piece of my soul back. Mostly because that book actually did suck the life out of me, but also because of how excited I am to have it on my bookshelf. I researched the holy hell out of this book. I invested a lot of myself and my learning experience at Tech in this book. And it was amazing. I forgot how much I love research, publication histories, and old books in general.  And without the politics, crappy professors, sleep-deprived nights and emotional breakdowns tainting my views, I actually remember the parts of English that made me want to go to grad school.

This book arrived right on the heels of a lengthy conversation with my teacher friend. We talked for two hours about high school English curriculum, dystopian lit, engaging students, teaching proper research methods, and teaching, learning, and differentiating between journalistic writing and English scholarly writing.

Kristin thinks I’d be a great AP English teacher. I don’t know, I have a pretty inappropriate sense of humor and a potty mouth. But I do know that today I geeked out like only an English nerd can. And it feels great to be back.

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Reading Wilkie

Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins are the two bffs of the Victorian period who talked me into going to grad school, and who also convinced me that Tech was the right choice.

I may hate school now, but that doesn’t change my admiration of all things D&C. So let’s talk about how awesome it is that right now I am reading the original serialization of Wilkie’s The Woman in White in Charles’ All The Year Round.

So awesome.

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Observations on Tech: English Building

Here I sit, in the Digital Humanities Lab.

I’m avoiding my work at all costs, and I thought perhaps this was the best time to show you my second home. Admittedly, I hate leaving my apartment (heck, I’m not to keen about leaving my bed, half the time) but I find away to make it to the English + Philosophy Building five days a week. I have a key to the building and most of the rooms, a key to an office I’ve never used, and a code for the lab. A little cold, but I’m sure there are worse places I could spend my time.

I generally avoid looking like a tourist on campus, so I don’t have any glamour shots of the place. Instead, I ripped this one off a chess website so you could imagine my daily grandeur.

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Observations on Texas, I

I waited a little while to post my first round of observations on Texas. This is mostly because I haven’t done anything since I moved here. Except put together my apartment–that I have done and it will have it’s own glorified post in the very near future. But for now, here are some things I’ve noticed about my new realm.

1. Roads are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. There are four-lane one-ways, turnarounds, frontage roads and loops. Not uncommon for people from big cities, but it’s certainly new to this girl. I practically live on the corner of two major roads. Major means five to seven lanes across. In the middle of town. What the fuck? It’s not as bad as I’d imagined, though. So far, so good, although I’ve only ventured three places: Target, a parking lot at TTU, and another Target.

2. People here are slow. Sssslllloooooooowwww. Well, not when driving. But at everything else. Fast food? Slow. Talking? Slow. Walking, moving, standing, eating. Slow, slow, slow, slow! It makes me crazy. I wonder if people will have a hard time understanding me when I speak.

3. Popular foods are far different here. For instance, down the street is a corner with Sonic, Jimmy Johns (hooray!) and Dennys. I’ve never seen more then two cars in the JJ parking lot. Sonic, however, has at least five cars at all times and once I saw the parking spaces full (like 20+ spots) with a line. Dennys, too, is wildly popular. And traveling down 50th I know of at least five taco places. It’s nuts! Also, fountain drinks are a bit different here. Like the “Enjoy Fanta Red.” Hmm.

4. I’m rather paranoid here. I think people look at me funny, talk to me funny, everything. I feel like I have IOWA stamped across my forehead.

5. Music doesn’t suck. Not that they don’t have Country here. Because they do. But I’ve managed to avoid it by finding a wicked Hip-Hop station that I never plan to turn off.

6. Everyone wears TTU gear. Mostly red shirts that say Texas Tech or Texas Tech University. I see a lot of “Wreck ‘Em Tech” as well. Guess I’m underdressed.

That’s about all I’ve had the honor of observing thus far. Gimme a while, a couple trips to campus, an orientation or class or two, and I’ll have much more to comment on, I’m sure.


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My New Life

Twenty four books and $500 later… I’ve bought the reads for my first grad school semester.

  • Goblin Market and Other Poems – Christina Rossetti
  • An Autobiography – Anthony Trollope
  • Lady Audley’s Secret – Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • Capital, Volume 1 – Karl Marx
  • Unto This Last – John Ruskin
  • Sartor Resartus – Thomas Carlyle
  • Vanity Fair – William Thackeray
  • Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  • British Literature, 1780-183 – Anne Mellor and Richard Matlak
  • New Oxford Anthology of Romantic Period Verse –  Jerome McGann
  • Revolutions in Romantic Literature: An Anthology of Print Culture, 1780-1832 –  Paul Keen
  • Romanticism: an Oxford Guide – Nicholas Roe
  • Mysteries of Udolph – Ann Radcliffe
  • Selected Poetry – Byron
  • Don Juan – Byron
  • The Monk – Matthew Lewis
  • Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
  • Textual Scholarship: An Introduction – Greetham
  • A New Introduction to Bibliography – Philip Gaskell
  • MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing – Joseph Gibaldi
  • Literary Research Guide – James Harner
  • An Introduction to Book History – David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery
  • From Gutenberg to Google – Peter Shillingsberg

Stress. The nightmares started last night.

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I hate, hate, hate making decisions. I’d go so far as to say I’m debilitating indecisive. I don’t know why, I guess just because I’m pretty okay with whatever. Or I hate the pressure of making a wrong choice. Or something.

But at this point, I would vow to make decisions about what to eat, what to watch, where to go, what to do, whatever if it meant I could have one moment of clarity with a God-like voice saying, “Kristina, thisschool is where you should go.” Seriously. I’ll never say “I don’t know” or “I don’t care” in that whiny, why-don’t-you-choose voice again. Ever. Ya hear that, manupstairs?

I’ve never been good at decisions, and I’ve never had to make a life-altering one before. Not a single one (going blond was an accident, not a choice). I’ve spent portions–large and small–of every day comparing Emerson and TTU and my possible futures with each. It constantly gets me nowhere. Right when I think TTU won out, Emerson pops up (a free book in the mail, edited by an Emerson grad? Travelocity emails about discount flights to Boston?). Why can’t the required number of people just decline Brown and let me get an offer, that would solve all of my problems. HAH, okay, wishful thinking. But for realz, yo. This shit’s hard. I don’t think any number of pro-and-con lists is going to cut it.

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Lubbock, A Retraction

I feel the need to reconcile Lubbock Day 1.

Going on this visit opened a few personal English daemons. I’ve had a rather untraditional literature experience at Drake. Because of that, I haven’t read ‘classics’ like Paradise Lost, Leaves of Grass… seriously I could go on for days but I don’t know WHAT I haven’t read. That’s also the problem. Not to mention I don’t know jack about theory or time periods. Basically, I took four classes that centered around British Lit, and I loved them so I decided to keep going with school. But that makes it really hard to feel up-to-par with students who’ve read poetry and know authors by names and periods. Edwardian period? Who even was Edward?

It was rough. Tough. Frustrating, but by the end of the trip I loved it. All of it. Sure, I’m not thrilled about Texas. I curse too much, drink too much, and glare too much to be there. But it’s not THAT bad. The campus is gorgeous, it has a lazy river, and the town isn’t hopeless. Besides, I’ll be studying.

As for the academic part, Texas Tech has some absofuckinglutelyamazing things in store for their English department. They are digitizing all of Dickens’ Household Words and All The Year Round. Do you know what this means? An entirely searchable database for people who are doing research in that period. Okay, if you still don’t get it–it’s awesome. A lifesaver. SO fucking cool (yes, this is where my geek shows). Plus, the university itself is hella supportive of the English department, and the program has professional development curriculum that is second-to-none.

And then there are the people. I interacted with people who turned me off, yes. But there were lots of people I really, truly enjoyed. They’re intelligent, nice, funny, and supportive of everyone’s interests and goals. We had a lot of fun together, and that helped make TTU real. I can see myself with these other MA applicants that I’ll be working side-by-side with. And I can see myself with the faculty who are amazingly supportive of us and all of their students.

The director of graduate studies, who specializes in my field, sat down with me for an hour to discuss my concerns and my ambitions. So, it doesn’t matter that I haven’t read Matthew Arnold. There’s plenty of time for me to brush up. He even told me what editions of books to buy (Norton Critical, Oxford World Classic, or Penguin. Yep, still a nerd). I got a reading list that goes on for months, and I even consulted with my peers about what theory books can help an uninformed girl crash-course before grad school. This is awesome.

I started with hate, and ended with love. I think that means I like it. About this time next month, I just might be a Raider.

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Well, hey there West Coast, thanks for joining the running in the Grad School Bonanza 2010! Welcome, Washington State University. The school has offered me a Teaching Assistantship, full tuition waiver, and a stipend for books and supplies. Fabulous. Trouble is, the school isn’t program specific, so I am a lot less interested in it. Not that I wouldn’t be interested in living in the gorgeous state. Once I get this trip to Texas Tech out of the way, I’ll feel a lot better about declining schools with less specific programs.

With six still left to go, I’m three for three.


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Mood Music

I’m on this music kick, apparently.

Yesterday I received a letter–a package, rather–saying that I had been accepted into the Publishing and Writing graduate program at Emerson College. Emerson College in Boston, MA. [sidenote: Boston is a band. HA! This music stuff is great.] Here’s the breakdown:

Boston > Lubbock
Publishing and Writing </= Nineteenth-Century Studies
Emerson perks < Texas Tech perks.

So basically we’re at a standstill. Emerson would be an amazing program that would utilize both of my undergraduate degrees. And it’s in freaking Boston! But, Boston is expensive and the school isn’t forking over any funding. And, well, the publishing world is a scary place. I already don’t have a job, should I risk investing myself further? I have a serious decision to make, and I’m not really ready to do it. This is my future. This is big.

Now, here’s how this all relates to music:

I celebrated this East Coast acceptance with a three-hour drive to Sioux City, some Grape flavored Crush, and the Pirate Radio soundtrack. During this absolute fiesta, I decided that ‘Cleo’s Mood’ by Junior Walker and The All Stars is my theme song. Well, not exactly a theme song, but if I had to pick a song that played anytime I walked into a room? This would be it. Classy.


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