This spring, I got depressed, and I spent the summer finding my way back out of it. I’ve now had some distance from it, and I’ve started talking to more people about it, so today, on World Mental Health Day, I’m writing about it.
We are eight weeks into the spring semester, and I am so tired.
Maybe you’re looking at the title of this post and thinking, “how is this academic? This is just some girl mad about some pop culture thing!” A) You’re sort of right but also B) It is VERY academic, and here’s why: Since learning about Tonya Harding at an early age – I discovered her name on a list of people banned for life from competing in USFSA-sanctioned events – I was obsessed, and I researched her thoroughly. Any time I had to do some kind of biographical presentation in school, it was about Tonya. In high school, I found out my figure skating coach was IN THE RINK when Nancy Kerrigan got hit (he heard the screaming!!!), which only made me feel closer to the saga. I have seen the 30 for 30 doc on Tonya a whole bunch of times. If I could find some remote way to connect her to the German Studies world, believe me, I would, and I’d write a dissertation on her.
The Unbearable Like-ness of Bae-ing is a semi-regular column where we write about whatever baes we like at present. We will not apologize for the name.
Right now I’m taking a course on Werner Herzog, who is possibly my favorite figure in German cinema – not necessarily for his movies, but for his pop culture presence. He has inspired a parody Twitter account. He was in an episode of Parks and Rec. Paul F. Tompkins does a regular impression of him. His documentary filmmaking, and filmmaker persona, are parodied in The Penguins of Madagascar. Most Germanists I know can do a pretty serviceable impression of him: just say some stuff about the brutality of nature and the chaos of existence in a vaguely Bavarian accent, and you’re good.
Grad school can at times be a stressful, sad, rage-inducing, isolating, and occasionally boring experience. I’m glad I have a great support system – my family, friends, cohort, mentors, and colleagues – to get me through it. Pop culture is a big part of my support system, too; it’s a good way to escape the world of academia, and sometimes finds its way into my research. Here is a list of some of the things that have, thus far, gotten me through my MA and PhD: