Saturday, January 1, 2022

Empowered: The Grad School Chronicles (1.04)

(Restart Story) 

You decide to take a seat next to Nikki. The table itself is rectangular in shape, with two chairs at each head and four along the sides. Nikki sits at the head opposite of where the professor would sit, next to the room's entrance. 

She's already deep in thought, gazing at a document on her laptop.

"Hey, what do you think about this?" She glances briefly at you and points at the title of the document.

"This is the title I've come up with for my dissertation, but I'm not super pleased with it." 

Wait, she's already thinking of titles for her dissertation? Appearing to have read your mind, she quickly responds.

"I know what you're thinking, but yeah, I've pretty much already written most of my dissertation. I feel like I could graduate with the PhD now if not for all these course requirements." 

A wave of panic sets in as you begin to think about just how far behind you are compared to people like Nikki. You don't even know what you want to research yet! 

Luckily for you and your anxieties, Nikki seems to forget you are there, proceeding to have a conversation with herself about the pros and cons of using a particular subtitle.  

A few moments later, more members of your cohort trickle in. Besides you, there are seven other members: Mac, Nikki, Raphael, Beth, Michael, Estella, and James. It's a fairly diverse group, you're of mixed racial descent yourself, as is James. Michael is African American while Estella is Filipina, and Raphael is of Native American descent. Several Eliot University faculty members have already commented on the incredible diversity of your cohort, hinting that this is an atypical occurrence.

The professor strolls in right at 10:00. He is pale with graying hair and piercing blue eyes. Standing at well over six feet, he looks quite intimidating. Nevertheless, you are a great fan of his work on twentieth century political movements, and consider him to be one of the major reasons why you applied to Eliot University. 

He takes a seat at the head of the table, pulls out a stack of papers, and leans back in his chair. He silently clasps his hands and stares at you and the other members of your cohort. 

"Let's begin by looking at the syllabus, shall we?" The professor slides a weighty packet of papers to everyone at the table. You look down and begin processing the information.  


I hope you are enjoying this interactive short story. If you can spare it, please consider donating to my coffee fund so that I can keep writing stories like these. Thank you again for reading my work! 

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.