universityoflies

roasting marshmellows in phd hell

Deprogramming Myself from the Cult of Education

with 4 comments

Thanks a lot!

Thanks a lot!

“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.

Now what?

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Written by universityoflies

May 7, 2012 at 21:41

4 Responses

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    • Thanks for the link- so depressing that I’m not surprised at all.

      I saw a documentary the other day about people making craploads of money as phone sex workers and entertained the thought for half a second.. things aren’t that bad yet though.

      universityoflies

      May 7, 2012 at 22:31

  1. “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.”

    Sigh. Yes, this.

    I just want to scream every time one of my still-grad-student friends talks about how they’ll have an easy time on the market because they’re “shooting low.”

    Yes, yes. You keep shooting low. And keep losing out on those jobs to the academic rockstars who are slumming because there aren’t enough jobs at the highest levels for them either.

    It’s amazing how much no one looks at the sheer numbers involved in the academic market.

    JC

    May 11, 2012 at 14:37

  2. I know, JC.

    I’ve got friends like yours in the MA program, and we talk about the job market etc but they’ve got stars in their eyes, just like I did.

    If I had a delorean, I’d travel back in time and slap myself.

    universityoflies

    May 11, 2012 at 17:46


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