I'm trying to ride out the 'Oh fuck!' feeling that invariably overtakes me sometime in the first few weeks of the school year. It usually sets in around the 'Welcome Back (Though You Shouldn't Have Ever Left And Stopped Working) Reception' when the advisor catches my eye, walks over, asks what I did on my summer vacation (kissed four girls at sleepaway camp!), then, chuckling at my response, quickly shifts gears towards my dissertation and begins presumptuously asking for completed work and about meetings while I choke on my drink and spit a little on his shoes.
And while I'm usually able to weather this storm or at least walk it off and convince myself that I'm really not fucked, this 'Oh fuck!' moment is different. Not only did it come even sooner, it came with the force of an ACME one-ton anvil on the head, which is to say, it hit me like a ton of bricks in my face. With the placement committee telling me I'm not going to get a job unless I spent the whole summer crafting an impenetrable job market dossier that would be like Kryptonite to the ability of search committees to not give me a job, the advisor catching me BEFORE the beginning of the year and telling me to get my shit together, and the prospects of my office being flooded by students born in 1990, the 'Oh fuck!' quickly escalated into the 'Oh fuck; I'm fucked; Oh fuck; Shit, I'm fucked!' feeling before the summer even began.
And this time, after a few months of feeling this way, I'm not so sure I can walk it off. Because, you know what? I think I really AM fucked.