by Amy Burek 28 pages, stapled
This zine is a collection of entries from the livejournal Amy Burek kept during grad school (2004-2006). She attempted to earn her PhD in some kind of science-related program but ended up leaving before she finished. The entries range from page-length to a single sentence, detailing her personal experiences/thoughts about her coursework, program, research, peers, and academia in general. I looooove the idea of going back through old diaries (yes, I had a livejournal) and curating entries for a specific project like this. The decisions Burek makes about what to include and how to arrange the entries is fascinating. Sometimes the entries are dated sequentially and sometimes they jump from one month to the next, highlighting the contrast between her vacillating thoughts. For example, on October 7, 2015 she says she wants to quit grad school and become an artist and 10 days later she's working on an NSF proposal. The text is plainly laid out throughout the zine and sprinkled with a few black and white photographs from that period of Burek's life (with cartoon faces pasted in to protect the innocent). She also underscores some of the more striking entries by placing them in a black box alone on the page. As someone who has been through grad school (at the master's level) and whose partner is currently attending an MFA program, I sympathized with a lot of the feelings expressed here. Burek ends the zine with an epilogue from 2012, encouraging struggling grad school students not to give up but also to know that walking away from school doesn't mean that you have.