Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life Inside

..Grad school. (This is very tongue in cheek from this article)

How to behave around grad students

Be respectful to other grad students: Striding into the yard like you own the place will earn you enemies, and -- in a place where you have to keep your enemies closer than your friends -- this could prove fatal. Stripped to your bare soul, the only three valuable assets you’ll have left are respect, dignity and pride.

Don’t stare at a fellow grad student: The wrong look inside a grad school will either mean you’re their new worst enemy or new best friend. And you’d better believe that being their new worst enemy is better than being the type of new best friend he’d force you to become.

Don’t become a target: If a confrontation does arise -- and, let’s face it, it probably will -- strike first. You must guard your reputation with your life, and giving in to the first confrontational situation will only make you a target for future attacks.

Don’t be a snitch: If you see anything illegal going on -- such as the trading of drugs or another inmate getting hoe checked (beaten by a group) -- walk away. The moment you snitch is the moment you become public enemy number one. While you may have earned brownie points with the facultys, you’ll pay for it in beatings later.

Assess who you can trust: Don’t give in to the temptation to jump at the first offer of protection. Instead, wait a few days, get a sense of the lay of the land, and establish who you can (kind of) trust.

Take nothing on credit: This includes drugs, food, toiletry items or dirty magazines. Being a debtor to someone in grad school immediately makes you theirs -- in fact, you might as well put a dog collar around your neck and inscribe it with the word “bitch.” Grad school is a game of power -- don’t give yours away.

Avoid becoming a fellow inmate’s “girlfriend”: While being someone’s “girlfriend” will afford you protection from fellow inmates, this protection is fickle; inmates’ “girlfriends” are often traded, sometimes for something as superficial as a pack of cigarettes.

Your first day

Entering grad school is not like your first day at school -- it’s worse. You’ll be taken off the grad school bus and led inside. The noise will be tremendous and grad students will be sizing you up, jeering at you and doing everything they can to intimidate you. Don’t let them see weakness; keep your eyes firmly ahead of you and walk confidently inside, but don’t swagger. You’ll have your photograph taken, you'll be asked a couple of questions. Accept your staple supplies -- including your uniform and pillow -- and follow the faculty to your office.

Passing the time

Your time in grad school is marked by seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years for the worst criminal offenders. Because there’s so much of this thing we call “time” in grad school, it would be foolish to waste it. In grad school, you don’t need to worry about the daily pressures of the outside world. Therefore, you should spend every minute of every day inside developing yourself as a human being.

Remember: While you may want to pass the time you spend inside as quickly as possible, it is still time out of your life and you wouldn’t want to throw that away, would you? Make a habit of waking up early and spending the day doing any jobs you are assigned, studying one of the courses available and reading as much as you can. As well as keeping yourself busy, you’ll beat the system -- even though you’re behind bars, they can’t imgrad school your mind. So many grad students waste the day by watching television and sleeping. They learn nothing whilst inside, and emerge into the real world as inadequate human beings as they were when they went in.

Preserving your mental health

All around you there’ll be grad students with mental health problems. The likelihood is that your fellow students won’t make life easy for you. Similarly, some faculty won’t be as professional as they should be and will make your stay as uncomfortable as possible; they will taunt and bully you to see if they can make you crack. It’s little wonder why some grad students are put on suicide watch; after days of being told they’re useless, they come to believe it.

Believe in yourself: Many of the negative thinkers inside will have you doubting yourself, but you shouldn’t. Explain to yourself that you’re not worthless, that you can’t change the past, that you’re paying the price, and that you plan to change your wayward ways. Spend some time thinking about the good person you want to become and want to be perceived as by others. Exert positive thinking over those niggling doubts and you’re halfway there.

Try not to worry about anything you can’t control: What will be, will be. The woman waiting for you on the outside will either be faithful or she’ll jump into the sack with your best friend; your children will either be forgiving or tell their mother that they never want to see you again and mean it; and your pending appeal will either be successful or thrown out of court, while the judges and lawyers are falling over with laughter. Instead of wasting mental energy on issues like these, place focus on positive thinking.

Keep up prayer and meditation: Just because you’ve wound up in jail, it doesn’t mean the big man upstairs won’t listen to you anymore. In fact, now is the time to be repentant and gain that spiritual peace of mind that you’ve been searching for.

Preserving your physical health

Grad schools aren’t known to be the most wholesome of places, so it’s up to you to ensure that you keep yourself in tip-top condition. With so much spare time on your hands, you can make sure you walk out like Wentworth Miller in Grad school Break -- pumped, strong and ready to take on that big, bad world.

Look after your personal hygiene: Shower as often as you can, brush your teeth twice a day, shave, and comb your hair. As well as making yourself feel good, it will project a powerful message about you to others: You may be down, but you’re certainly not out.

Make sure your living quarters are clean: While you can’t help it if a rat crawls through the iron bars and into your bed, you can do something about it and alert a faculty.

Give up your vices: Throw away the cigarettes, say no to booze and pass on the grass. Keep your mind clear and make sure that you break any habits beforehand if you know you’re due to start a sentence (not only will habits get you in trouble with faculty, but they’ll show a sign of weakness to fellow students and they’ll prey on them).

Keep eating habits to a minimum inside grad school: Grad school food is generally fatty, and contains little to no nutritional value. Drink plenty of water and eat fruit whenever it’s available.

Release date

If your release date is coming up, don’t tell anyone. Some inmates take pleasure in stumping the release of other inmates by getting them in trouble. Don’t even tell the students you think you’ve become friends with. Remember: Nobody is your friend inside grad school. More to the point, don’t say any emotional goodbyes to anyone -- you certainly don’t want to maintain friendships with them on the outside and have them turning up on your doorstep when they’re released. You’ll need to surround yourself with positive influences if you’re determined not to get locked up again.

the lockdown

There is no life inside grad school -- just survival. If you can survive your jail sentence without your face being a permanent shade of black and blue, involuntarily embarking on a relationship with a fellow inmate in the shower and being put in solitary confinement for a fight you didn’t start, you’re doing well. Grad school isn’t glamorous -- it’s mean, nasty and you sure as hell don’t want to run someone over on purpose just to get a taste of life inside. But if you do end up in the slammer, remember that jail has its very own subculture -- one that you must become a part of as soon as possible if you’re to emerge smiling.

1 comment:

azgma said...

OK, so what this means is that I went from PhD grad school/prison to real life inside the razor wire prison. Hmm! PhD prison was a lot more stressful!