Deprogramming Myself from the Cult of Education
“A college education is the key to a good future.” -old people
As the child of civil servant, one generation removed from ‘the old country’ parents, education equaled stability and prosperity. so when I got a masters, then decided to get a phd, well the old people were impressed.
If school= good, surely more school= more good?
And to a large degree, I believed it myself, even though I also knew the job market was dire. But I found a full time teaching position before, surely I’d be able to get another one?
(O rhetorical questions! You are cray cray.)
But yeah. Some things you have to learn for yourself, I guess. No matter how many articles I read entitled “Just Don’t Go to Grad School” or “Tertiary Education Will Ruin Your Life and Turn You Into a Homeless Creeper”, well I wasn’t convinced. Partly because I’m stubborn and partly because it’s infuriating to be told to get the hell out of academia (unless I am independently wealthy!) by some old white guy who already has a tenured position. There’s enough cookies for William H Pannapacker, but not for anyone else!!!!1
Because I should specify- I’ve never been after one of those fancy R1 or even ‘public ivy’ jobs with a special chair named after an illustrious dead person and a big mahogany office filled with first edition books and moldy taxidermy. I wanted to be a public servant, like my parents. Teaching at a community college or a lower end government owned university. And I had this idea that most of the drama around the job market for academics was coming from people who were ‘above’ the community college/glorified cc market. That reflected what I heard from the prestige chasers around me and what I read on the interwebz. The way people talk, nobody was going to waste their time teaching those shitty intro to writing classes at a community college, probably in an industrial park or skyscraper board room with low ceilings, nary a luscious green quad to be seen.
I thought the phd would lead to opportunity and job security cause I had my sights set low. All I wanted was to focus on teaching and not the endless churning out of journal articles nobody will ever read. But of course, I now know that my lofty cohort are applying for and settling for these jobs cause there ain’t no other game in town.
My civil servant/immigrant relatives think I’m being dramatic, but 878Xj3 job applications later, with not even one interview or request for more information, I finally get it.
In the first world, in the 21st century,in a dark dark house, in a dark dark room, education
does not equal opportunity.