One more excuse

The Chronicle has said it. The GSE has hosted an event on it. And now Dr. Szwydky has hosted a class on it. I am sensing a pattern here. And yet the intercession course on the Alternative Academic job market was only 8 strong. We had a great time in a supportive environment where we listened to each other’s life plans or lack of life plans, drafted job documents and got a big dose of relief and reality. But we were only 8 strong. So where was everyone else? We made excuses for the low attendance. Some people go home in the summer, we said. Some were confused about the assistantship dispersal over the intercession, we said. But we didn’t explore one other reason/excuse for low enrollment. Did the others just not care? Doubt that. I think that many of us are so affected by all the gloom and doom out there that we just can’t care about our future. The reason people didn’t come out is: IMPOTENCE. With the similar low attendance at the academic job market workshops, it isn’t just disinterest in Corporate America or the non-profit sector that kept people home. We are having anxieties that are keeping us from performing…

basic tasks, like learning how to find a job, any job. I do understand that. Blog posts, recent studies, the horror stories of years spent on the academic job market that our friend tells us (really it’s your friend’s cousin’s adjuncting neighbor) all make us feel hopeless on all fronts. And perhaps deep down we wonder did I make a mistake. Should I have continued my education? No, you did not make a mistake. We are getting paid to read for 2-4 years. That’s what Dr. Stephens said on my first week of school and it’s a perspective that has helped me over the many months. So get it up…

I mean get up. Shake off the Chronicle, in fact stop reading it altogether, (advice from Dr. Fagan) and start taking an active role in your future again. We are excellent students, analytical thinkers, and brilliant scholars. Our comps, dissertations, and defenses will be done before we know it. So stop staring out into space with weak/no plans and attend Dr. Davis’s career workshops. Bother David Scott over at the University Press. Do an informational interview with University Communications or Fundraising (and if you don’t know what an informational interview is, ask Dr. Szwydky (but really you should have taken the class because we totally went over that). This thing is not going to happen with magic or the help of little blue pills. It going to happen when we all engage with the real world the way we engage with [insert life-changing author here]. My point is that we will never access to this amount of free help ever again, so we all need to take full advantage.


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