We strode the halls of the overeducated. Ideas were our battlefield. The stakes were highest in our seminar on narrative. A few of us went for the jugular when combating the structuralists, and everyone thought Marxists were passé. Feminists were tedious, unless they engaged Irigaray and Lacan. We loved Foucault but ripped apart his epistemology. We were above personal allegiances. On the first day, the department chair told us to look around the room, because more than half of us would not walk out with a PhD. Some would leave. Others would be screened out of the program at the discretion of our professors. When we saw someone open a slim white envelope and run out of the mail room crying, we were relieved it wasn’t us. And we pretended that we had known all along that our newly departing colleague wasn’t cut out for a PhD anyway. She barely understood Kristeva’s semiotic. She’d be better off in journalism. Sometimes we thought of quitting ourselves, but we couldn’t bear the thought of those still standing thinking that they had predicted our departure all along.

People on couch
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