Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: “We’re all in the same (sinking) boat.” Or, in other words, “Get on the Panic Train! Toot toot!”

Monday, December 13, 2010

“We’re all in the same (sinking) boat.” Or, in other words, “Get on the Panic Train! Toot toot!”


The above title is taken directly from recent Facebook posts in threads I have participated in, and refer to GSAS finals season. For every minute I spend writing my papers (and I suspect the same could be said for those of you studying for exams), I spend an equal or greater amount of time on Facebook. “How can you function that way? How can you concentrate?” my dad asked me last night when I went home for a change of scenery (I was going stir crazy sitting in one room writing for 3 days straight).
“Well...It lets me know I’m not alone.”
And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. Usually, around 1 or 2am, about 27 of my friends are on Facebook chat. This means about 30 other people I know are definitely awake and either Facebook stalking or working like I am. As the hours go on, the numbers dwindle. I often go to bed late. I seem to work better when everyone else in my house is asleep. For some reason, I am a nocturnal being. I see the numbers dwindle to about 6 people by 4am.
Not so during finals time. Last night, at about 2am, 70 of my friends were on Facebook chat. 70! I’m not sure I even know that many people at Fordham. This group of 70 obviously included some of my friends who are still at college, and currently going through the same terror of finals. So it’s still obvious that the number peaked because of the time of year. And, what makes this even more obvious, and something I think is much more prominent for grad. students than undergrads., is the constant back and forth and commiserating on statuses and wall posts that flourishes at this time in the semester. Maybe it’s more common for grad. students because we have more work. Or maybe it’s simply that, within each program, there’s so much overlap between people taking the same classes that little virtual support groups form more easily. I’m not sure. But I’m sure I never see this much Facebook activity except during finals time, and I’m sure I see much more of it in grad. school than I did in undergrad.
And, honestly, I don’t know how I’d get through all this work without Facebook. Without being distracted from my own miserable paper-writing existence by reaching out and supporting others who are in the same position. Without trying (and failing) to say something wittier and funnier than my impossibly brilliant friends. The humor is so necessary, I think, and the way I get that release is through Facebook. I know, that’s kind of sad. How dependent can you get? But, living off campus as most grad. students do, I can’t commiserate by just walking down the hallway and complaining to someone that my eyes feel like they’re going to explode. We have to connect on Facebook. And the more stressful the semester, the more I need the (again, virtual) company. You get solidarity in psychosis.
As we all slowly reach our breaking points, I’m sure we’ll all also reach the peak of entertaining Facebook statuses. So I say: Thank God for Facebook. It’s the medium by which we all save each other.
PS Feel free to save each other via this Blog post too!

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