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When "tilting" is taken as a action done to grad students as opposed to an adjective describing them, this is easy. All you have to do is get a good amount of their substance of choice into your graduate students, stand them up -- this can a bit difficult, if they prefer the correct substance -- and push. Here in the fabulous creative writing sector of the English department, the bourbon flows really quite freely, William Faulkner be damned. Most grad students who have any extra time will be willing to imbibe enough to be tilted quite easily. Those who are not so willing may be more difficult to tilt. They require more strategy: the element of surprise is known to work reasonably well on these subjects, but otherwise, you may have to get creative.

Here let it be known: graduate students do so much work that when they have any time to party, they really suck it down. I don't think this is specific to the English (literature) dept., but we certainly do have the good old American alcoholic writer stereotype kicking around more than other departments. In the USA, that is. Grad students have to have some escape from their relentless minds, the academia constantly surrounding them, pressing into their inner ears: otherwise their heads will pop. Being tilted might well be a welcome addition to their escape: how many grad students have You seen in such an undignified position? They might get to actually relax. It might also really, really upset them, however, in a variety of literal and figurative ways -- i.e. "oh my god I can't even stay on my feet in public! I can't do this I can't make it in the academic world I'm going to go sell coconuts in Tahiti!" -- so be careful. Use your judgement.

When "tilting" is taken as an adjective, you have a slightly different story, or a story seen from a different angle. In this case, the graduate students are not necessarily being acted upon; the adjective applies to them, but is not necessarily a direct product of some outside force. Tilting may be a problem for the shaky or stressed-out grad student -- the distracted, the drunk, or the stoned grad student. They can tilt just fine on their own, thank you, although a push will probably help the tilting process along, literally or figuratively. Sometimes both.

The tilting graduate student is having problems. It seems like each one is on the verge of panic, for various academic or personal (and aren't they the same thing at this point?) reasons. Oh my god I haven't finished my 600 pages of reading oh my god I haven't graded these essays oh my god I have thirty pages to write by Wednesday oh my GOD I have to TEACH in twenty minutes I have to RUN, RIGHT NOW. No time for food or play or sleep or breath. No time.

(Why do I want to do this? I still want to do this.)

Tilting graduate students need to stop and take some deep breaths and look at the sky for a while. They need to take a break. It's really fortunate for them that they get summers off (ostensibly, anyway) -- then they can do their own work in a rush of interest, as opposed to simultaneous panic and interest. Tilting graduate students need to go to the bar with their similarly tilting friends, where they all talk rapidly about their theses and students and significant others and how little sleep they've gotten that week, wideeyed and tense. They need a Hefeweizen and a basket of greasy bar fries. They need to let go, to unclench their minds and bodies, uncurl themselves from their desks, stop inhaling the recycled air in their tiny terrible boxes of offices. They really need a big bottle of ice water and a picnic on a hill where the wind is blowing and there are no books, papers, or pens anywhere in sight. They NEED their Fridays. And then, afterward, if they get up at eight on Saturday to start grading, that is fine.

Take your breaths where you can get them. Tilting is difficult.

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