Archives for the month of: November, 2014

Student Evaluation season is in, and my department has converted them all online! When I got the email in my inbox about it earlier this week, I immediately filled them out, thinking that it was nice to save fifteen minutes of class time.

Then I got to class this morning, saw everyone with their laptops and phones out, and the instructor out, with directions to fill out the online evaluation at Website X.

I had already filled it out, so… oops. I spent those fifteen minutes on my phone reading my blog roll.

All I could think was how counter-intuitive and counterproductive it was.

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Today, I heard back from one of my personal heroes, a professor at UBC, that she would be more than happy to be my adviser. My letters of recommendation are all fired up and ready for me to mail them. My application for a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant is underway. I am almost done with my statement of intent for grad school.

What’s the problem then?

All of this is very precarious, and dependent on me meeting the deadlines, which might not happen, not because of any outside tragic circumstances, but because of my own habit of self-sabotaging my own happiness.

It never fails, if I come close to making my dreams come true, I’ll suddenly become extremely passive, or goof off, or waste time, or forget to do one Major Thing.

I’m still getting at the root of why I do it. I feel like it has to do with fearing what would happen if I did in fact, get what I wanted through my hard work.

For now, I’m keeping my schedule tightly controlled until the due dates in order to avoid this.

For aglaonika, who asked me about Columbus and the Indigenous perspective, I’ve compiled this list of 101 basic books that are fun to read, accessible, and educational. Feel free to use them for whatever purposes you see fit, in the classroom or for your own learning pleasure. This is a combination of older, “classic” material used in Native Studies classrooms, newer books that are updated with relevant information about contemporary issues, and books that were written with a non-academic audience in mind.

Vine Deloria Jr- Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto

Thomas King- The Inconvenient Indian

Robert Warrior- The World of Indigenous North America

James Daschuk- Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life

Kino-nda-niimi Collective- The Winter We Danced- Voices from the Past, the Future and the Idle No More Movement

J. Kehaulani Kauanui- Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity

Mark Rifkin- When Did Indians Become Straight?: Kinship, the History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty

Joanne Barker- Native Acts: Law, Recognition, and Cultural Authenticity

Audra Simpson- Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States

Kevin Bruyneel- The Third Space of Sovereignty: The Postcolonial Politics of U.S.-Indigenous Relations

This week in news about autism:

Jerry Seinfeld publicly states that he’s autistic. Autism parents who think the world revolves around their persecution complex and hatred of autism go into a complete hysteria because he can talk, has a successful career, and enjoys his life, which they claim their autistic children cannot do, meaning that of course, no autistic person ever does, and they attack him. Jerry Seinfeld redacts his statement about having autism.

Life goes on, more autistic adults are alienated from the “autism community” because it’s dominated by these assholes who need therapy far more than their autistic children do, and Jerry Seinfeld is denied a chance to find solace in a fitting diagnosis AND autistic people are denied a role model who shares their neurotype.

So it goes.

This morning I woke up to a Montana phone call, which I answered because I recently ordered some transcripts from my old university in order to apply for a SSHRC grant for my upcoming Master’s research and wanted to make sure those were going through.

The bureaucrat from student loans on the phone had nothing but bad news for me.

“Since you didn’t complete exit counselling on your Perkins Loan, we’re holding your transcripts and you won’t receive them.”

“But I thought I completed exit counselling already! I did that before I emigrated!”

“That was for your federal loans, not your Perkins Loan, you need to do different exit counselling for that. And you need to give us four contacts, can’t be students, absolutely no students.”

“But I’m going to be in school for another six to eight years, why do I need to do this now?

“You just do. And you’re not getting your transcript until you complete this.”

Oyyyyy.

I’ve done exit counselling before. It’s obnoxious, and takes about an hour to complete.

I’ve never had to do this for a Canadian institution, nor have I ever had to deal with this kind of snippy rudeness from a Canadian official.

In comparison to Canada, I’ve had to deal with a much greater Kafkaesque bureaucracy, more forms, more unnecessary paperwork, and more headaches with my American institutions. From start to finish, it almost feels like it was designed to be as difficult and mind-numbing as possible.

I think that it has to do with the fact that in Canada, I deal with exactly two institutions: The University of Victoria themselves, and the BC Government. In America, I deal with a boatload of different private agencies, the federal government, the university, the third party collections agency that my school sells my student loan debt to without telling me, and others. That means I never do anything once. If I do it for one institution, I’ll have to repeat it again at least twice.

Another alternative theory is that I’m being punished for finding a loophole (moving to Canada and taking advantage of the cheaper, more centralized education) but my former classmates at UM tell me I’m not alone in dealing with this rudeness and paperwork, so that theory is out.

One of my favourite professors here teaches a course that she’s been teaching for over 30 years now. When she first started, the course was called “Racism and Antisemitism in Canada”. Then, her department intervened and asked her to change the title, and it became “Race and Antisemitism in Canada”. Then, they fiddled again, “Race in Canada”. Now, its current name is “Race in Canada since 1900.”

Fortunately for her, the course content remained more or less the same, but I marvel at how her department felt the need to defang the course title so radically over a three decade time period.