Three As are a cause for suspicion these days. The bond rating agencies ignored all common sense, succumbed to pressure, and gave AAA ratings to all manner of junk securities. (As Husband explained to me, when there's a lot of shit in a lot of buckets, the smell of each bucket doesn't offset the others, which how how the rating agencies justified giving excellent ratings to buckets of shit.) I thought about the AAA rating when I checked my grades online. It turns out that I got an A in my workshop, an A in my lit seminar, and an A in my colloquium. Under normal circumstances, I'd be puffing my chest and celebrating with a metaphorical cigar. However, I know that my grades are as inflated as Moody's ratings on collateralized debt obligations full of subprime mortgages. And just like with all the securities ratings, I know that all of my classmates' "products" were given triple As, too. It's sort of hollow.

Once, way back in the day when I thought that a career in public policy would fulfill me and thus pursued a graduate public administration degree, I aced a semester. I received an A in my advanced seminar on child & family policy (actually a PhD class in the School of Social Work), an A in my seminar on social policy analysis (also a social work PhD course), an A in a course on the legal environment of policymaking, and an A in my public management practicum. Damn, I feel my chest puffing up as I write this. The next semester I almost outdid myself, earning two As (in an insane course on public housing policy and in a policy analysis practicum), and A+ (seriously, they gave me an A+!) in a research practicum on poverty and public policy. Then I got a B+ in a sociology course in which the professor refused to talk to me after I missed a class due to illness, so that ruined it, but whatever. I've never been prouder of my work.

Grades don't buy happiness, that's for sure. I'm pretty nervous to start over again at the end of the month. I won't even go into the problem I'm having trying to change a class because no one is overseeing the fucking program right now; the director is on leave for the semester, and the associate director is out until Jan. 20. Not that they should be at the beck and call of students just because we pay $22,000 a year in tuition, but you'd think someone might stick around for little issues. What do I know about running programs, though? I just got an A in public management and have been administering nonprofit programs for almost a decade. I smell some buckets. (Man, this is way more bitter than I intended it to be.)

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