I have so many student loans that even though I haven’t graduated and thus don’t have to start paying (yet), I have already accrued several thousand dollars in debt. Oh, joy. My decision to go to grad school was founded on the belief that even though I’m tired of the way that we keep making higher and higher levels of education necessary to stay competitive in the job market, it’s worth it just to learn this shit. I really hope I’m write about that, but at this point, I wouldn’t bet on it. Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll talk about something else.
Actually, wait. I was so flustered from trying to find a decent scholarship that I even made an appointment with one of our deans to ask if there was something I was missing. She patiently explained that no, I wasn’t missing anything, and good luck finding a scholarship, but really, taking out loans and looking for a job to take the edge off of the debt was probably my best option. I’m at work as I write this part. I used to bar myself from using the internet at work, but everyone does it, and at a certain point, I’m not even sure how badly it damages my productivity. If I can’t focus, I can’t work. And I really, really need to work.
I think what drives a lot of people in my position crazy is the feeling that they have to do what they’re doing. I have to look for a job so that I can pay off all these fucking loans. What else am I supposed to do, buy a bunch of lottery tickets and hope for the best. Sure, it was my choice to go to grad school, just as it was my choice to get a job, but that doesn’t mean I get up every morning looking forward to another exciting day handling old manuscripts and shit. Paradoxically, I think working full time might help with that problem. I’m so sick of going home at the start of every weekend, then realizing that I have plenty of homework to do before class on Monday. Weekends shouldn’t feel like that. For that matter, neither should vacations, but even my winter break–which was five weeks long, natch–felt like a working vacation. That needs to change. The work never ends, and no matter what, I can’t forget it.
And now, I think I can actually move on to something else.
I’d like to talk about something that’s been bugging me lately: Pixar. There was a stretch of ten, almost fifteen years during which I loved pretty much everything they did. Then they started to slump. Or is it just me? I didn’t see Cars 2 and thought Brave was decent, but truth be told, the turning point for me was Toy Story 3. It was clever and fun, touching even, but something about it just felt…rote. From anyone else it would be amazing, but somehow, I spent most of it wondering if there was anything in it that Lasseter and Co. couldn’t do in their sleep by now. It amuses me that every time a Pixar or Ghibli movie comes out, people argue over which of the two is better. It’s an apples and oranges thing, like most comparisons, but one thing that I have noticed (or rather, that somebody pointed out to me) is that Pixar villains are irredeemable. It is not uncommon for the antagonist in a Miyazaki movie to turn out to be not so bad after all. In fact, it’s more common than the alternative. But Pixar tends to neatly divide their characters up into the good ones and the evil ones. What that means, I don’t know. I’m just pointing it out. What I do know is that I’m tired of Pixar making sequels or prequels to their previous successes. No, I don’t see why we need a prequel to Monsters Inc. And frankly, I’m not even sure if I’ll see Finding Dori. I could have sworn that Pixar was dead-set against sequels at one point. For that matter, didn’t their split with Disney initially result from Disney’s insistence that they be allowed to make brain-dead direct-to-video sequels of Pixar classics? I’m so glad Pixar held firm on that. But even when the sequels have the same budget and creative team as the original, a little goes a long way.
I should add, by the way, that the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3 was fucking intense. If nothing else, I have to give it that.
I don’t see myself as an artist, despite much evidence to the contrary. I’ve always had a very pragmatic nature, and some part of me insists that if my work doesn’t feed the hungry or heal the sick or keep nations from going to war, I could be doing more. I’m not studying this shit just so I can become an actor, is what I’m trying to say.
I used to want to stab people in the throat when, after I finished whining about my inability to get a date, they said, “You’ll find someone.” Somehow, I don’t want to stab them in the throat quite as badly anymore. I don’t know what that means.
After I finished undergrad, I spent six months hanging around my old college town and working at one of the campus dining halls to pay the bills while I filled out grad school applications. The job was pretty simple, and the pay was nice. To top it off, I got free meals, and my coworkers tended to be very friendly. After my term ended (they gave me a grace period after I graduated during which they counted me as a student employee), I tried to get hired full-time, and couldn’t. I kept wanting to turn back the clock and go back to that job, not because it was my dream job, but just because it was good enough. Then I had to move back in with my dad because I ran out of money and didn’t want to look for some crappy job bagging groceries after finding one I’d almost enjoyed. I couldn’t figure out what to make of that. A little over a year ago, I got into a fight with my mother in which she told me that I needed to accept that I couldn’t control everything. Fine, but I just want to know what I can and can’t control. I’m tired of shit ending before I’m ready. I can take that for a little longer. But not too much. After all, if I’m going to go into debt, I should be able to say I’ve gained something worth paying for, right?