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The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics

ISSN: 2472-7318

Numbers in the life of a PhD student thought about on a random Wednesday

Adapted from Gary Burnham’s “Subtotals


Hannah L. Stevens

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Keywords: grad student; debt; finances

Categories: Reflecting on Academic (Over)work and/or Precarity; Somewhere in Between: Grad Student Perspectives; Writing the Process of Writing 

Number of unread emails I woke up to: 34. Number of times I stood up from bed only to sit back down: 3. Number of drinks of my water bottle that I took: 23. Number of words I wrote for my "revise and resubmit" article submission: 133. Number of words I now need to cut from my "revise and resubmit" article submission: 133. Number of hours spent designing my online course to be as accessible as possible: 12. Number of hours paid for specifically designing the online course to be as accessible as possible: 0. Number of words in an email a student sent this morning about "un-accessible" course: 168. Number of tears of frustration: at least 10. Number of texts of frustration I sent to my grad fam: 3. Number of episodes of Bob’s Burgers watched before returning to work: 2. Number of times I watched the cursor bounce on an open document: 46. Number of pets I gave to my dog: 5. Number of drinks of my coffee that I poured in the only clean glass that I had which happened to be a Guinness glass: 24. Number of times I thought about drinking a Guinness instead of coffee at 11:00am: 2. Number of years left in my PhD program: 3. Number of times I thought about putting on deodorant but kept forgetting: 6. Number of spicy nacho cheese Doritos eaten for lunch: 16. Number of minutes spent outside: 3. Number of tabs open on my computer: 12. Number of avocados on my avocado toast fuzzy blanket: 159. Number of Word documents open on my computer: 5. Number of student essays waiting for me to grade: 11. Number of weeks that I have left to design  my summer online course: 3. Number of hours of sleep I got last night: 6. Number of months I thought my loan deferment lasted for: 48. Number of months my loan deferment actually lasted for: 10. Number of days late my loan payment was when I finally noticed: 243. Number of deep breaths I took after that realization: 7. Number of dollars in my bank account after I found the courage to look: 106. Number of tears of frustration: At least 10. Number of pets that came to comfort me: 1. Number of head boops received: 6. Number of times I closed my laptop for the day: 1.

Number of times I thought about quitting: 9.

Number of times I picked myself back up: 9.



Hannah L. Stevens is a PhD student in the Technical Communication & Rhetoric program at Utah State University. As far as research interests, she brings to her PhD work a background in feminist analysis that is layered onto her work with public policy along with considerations of race, class, and other factors. Her most recent research investigates the intersections of race, police violence, and public policy through an analysis of the law enforcement "Use of Force" document, pinpointing areas for disruption to the cycle of oppression.  

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