The very last thing I needed to read today…

So, today I am frantically working on several things due, respectively, tomorrow and Thursday. (A bibliographic essay summarizing existing studies on a figure of speech called “ekphrasis” and its use in Shakespeare’s Rape of Lucrece, and a conference paper/presentation about Vasari–a 16th century art theorist–and his rhetorical practices. Yeah, I know…)

Amidst my frenzy, I stumbled on the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education–judging by the name, you might conclude that this should be a resource filled with useful advice for those in graduate school! But, you’d be wrong, unless the advice you are looking for is: “Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go.”

No joke, that is the headline of the article that stared back at me. It is not in the least bit satirical, in fact.

Of course I should have immediately closed the window and retreated into my 16th century theory, but intead I read the article, which of course sent me into a spiral of “why the hell am I wasting my time with all of this stuff and never getting enough sleep and sacrificing any potential social life and making no money!” thinking. After all, even if I get through the Ph.D. (getting through this week seems hard enough at this point), my chances of getting a tenure-track position are less than 40%. Sigh. In all likelihood I will be 30, broke, jobless, and armed with seven years’ worth of useless knowledge about Hegelian dialectic, the performativity of gender, and poststructural analysis. Nothing makes your motivation plummet like thinking about the big picture, at least when you are in the humanities.

Still, I will probably finish these assignments on time. I will probably keep going in graduate school. I would like to say that that’s because of my undying commitment to knowledge and my insatiable curiosity. But the Chronicle for Higher Education would dispute that. It would say that I am, in fact, unable to leave academia because I am involved in a cult. Yes, the other article I read today from the Chronicle was called “Is Graduate School a Cult?”

God, these academic types are cheery.

Here are the articles if you want to read them for entertainment value, or if you are considering graduate studies. Or if you are a masochist, like me, apparently.


~ by releasethebadgers on April 13, 2009.

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