Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And when the woman saw

... that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat...

I should be writing my dissertation. My funding runs out in exactly 6 months and 27 days.

What was I thinking?

There I was, 28 years old, an idealistic undergrad, getting an English degree, of all things. And I wanted to go to grad school. But no, no, no, not in English Lit. Why, that would just be foolish. Everyone knows that the English Lit job market is abysmal. So I chose instead to do graduate work in my secondary major, Religious Studies. Because that is infinitely more practical.

I bit the apple. I drank the Kool Aid. I was mesmerized by the fantasy of being a professor in a black turtleneck and a beret, delighting the classroom by day and uncovering philosophical wonders by the glow of candlelight at night.

And now, here I am: 35 years old, ostensibly finishing a PhD in Religious Studies, twelve years of postsecondary education under my belt, 80K in student loans, and zero job prospects in sight.

Do I regret it? Meh, not really. Although writing this dang-blam dissertation is like pulling teeth most days, I actually enjoy my research. It's sexy and exciting. And I love teaching. I would just like the opportunity to continue doing it. I've taught, and I've researched, and I'm no longer under the spell of my romantic visions of what it means to be A Professor. It's not glamorous. It's not exotic. And not every professor gets to be Indiana Jones. And you know what? I still want it.

Well, that's me in a nutshell. Welcome to my world.

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