David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   

July 13, 2022

While my experiences in graduate schools (two separate ones) were generally not bad, in retrospect, and especially in light of We Keep The Dead Close, by Becky Cooper, which I recently finished, I still must reconcile some of their common dysfunctions. The abuses of power abound even today.


Another degree for your pedigree


Masters who serve as mentors


Exploitation with expectations



We'll put you in an artificial environment,

Forced intimacy, dynamics of power,

Tell you to forgo much outside our bubble,

For the interest of your future plans.

Him? He fell off the track, so don't mind

His permanent bitter scowl.

Him, however, watch your skirt

When he offers you his helping hand.

Her? She's a known whine enthusiast,

Taking it all the way up the ivy tower,

And him? He knows the climb,

Will get there doing whatever he can.

As for me, you can just ignore me,

Admitted in the final hour,

A cash grab, a favor to a nobody,

This year's departmental straw man.


These are the things that come of us


These are how we lose ourselves


These are the days that slide by 



Take this comprehensive. Check all that apply:

Feeling isolated? No work/life balance?

Here's the thing, your work is your life,

Live it, love it, suffer it in silence.

Feeling used? A TA-grading AI?

Every mark is part of your sentence.

Tight on cash? Don't even think to cry.

Here are a few morsels with the penance.

Feeling stressed? Mentor simply has no time?

Figure it out, no one loves a nuisance.

Feeling misled? Few openings down the line?

Drink a little more, it's all about persistence.

In the end, you will be lucky to get out alive

And by not resorting to violence.

This is a club that continues to thrive

By ignoring its obsolescence.


The rewards for all you naïfs come


The sharks will come for your loans anything but


Change comes where it's needed most


But not here.