- I'm really proud of how far I've come with the paying off of credit cards this year. (Yes, I just paid bills.) I'm not out of the woods yet, but you know things are heading in the right direction when paying bills doesn't send you into the depths of despair. IF I get a grant I applied for, I will be credit-card-debt free and will have actual thousands of dollars in the bank by the end of summer teaching.
- I've been thinking a lot about a comment left to this great post over at Historiann's. A commenter (Matt L.) suggested that it's patronizing for professors to tell students not to go to grad school in the humanities. (I'd quote the whole comment, but I'm sick and lazy. At any rate, that's the gist. If you want to read the comment, head on over there.) You know, I see where that perspective comes from, but I think that I disagree, kind of. It may be because I teach first generation college students, but typically professors are the only people who are in a position to talk about the opportunity costs of pursuing grad school. The problem is, we're all people who've "made it" and so that would mean that we shouldn't tell them not to do it because it's like saying we're better than they are or something and that would make us bad mentors. But the problem as I see it is that most of my students have no clue that I was freaking lucky and that I'm the exception, not the rule. See, all of the people who they know who've gotten Ph.D.'s and who mentor them were successful. That kind of sends a distorted message about the likelihood of "making it" in a field like English. So is it patronizing to tell students that choosing grad school is in many respects a really bad idea? I don't know. Would it be patronizing for somebody who won a million dollars at a casino to say that it's a really bad idea to dump all of one's money into gambling? I feel like that's a pretty good analogy for what choosing grad school in English is. Sure, you might win the big one, but you also might end up destitute, depressed, and having wasted a lot of time and money when you could have been slowly making yourself happy in some other way. This isn't to say that I don't encourage students who insist on the path - I do - but I'm pretty brutal on the front end of the conversation when they first bring up grad school. Maybe that is patronizing. But I also feel like it's me being a responsible mentor - something that I didn't really have, and something that could have turned out horribly. Who knows.
- Another colleague congratulated me today and was genuinely tickled to see the book. Maybe people aren't that jerky after all. Well, except some people are. But not all people.
- I am actually feeling a bit better after resting all evening. Will take drugs soon and sleep the sleep of angels.
- You know, in spite of my crankiness in my past few posts, I'm actually really happy. I have lots of good things in my life right now. And it's not lost on me how lucky I am to be in this job and smoothly sailing toward tenure in this market. I'm sending good vibes to all of you who are on the market this year. The timing of this economic crisis just sucks for those who started their Ph.D. programs years ago. Yet another thing I can mention in my Tale of Gloom that I like to tell students who are interested in grad school.
- I have just realized that I actually care who Paris picks to be her BFF. Lame. Apparently I'm rooting for Brittany, who everybody thinks is just using Paris to become famous.
- Ugh, I think it's time to rest again. I may have overdone it by paying bills and then writing this post.
5 years ago