But then again…

Lately, I question my decision to leave academe as much as I question every sentence in my dissertation. Am I sure post-academia is the right path for me? Even just now, typing the question, I feel a knot in my stomach. I mean, I got this far. Almost PhD at TNRU. I’ve been a good student and I worked hard to get to this point. A few months ago, before announcing that I was done with this, I had job offers. It looked like I was off to a good start as a young academic. Why did I hate academe so much? How did I reach this decision?

I’ve been reading On the Fence, the chronicles of a fellow academic who struggled for months between academic and postacademic career paths. I understand what ze is talking about. I’ve hated research before. I’ve hated academic institutions before. I have thought about leaving before. Hell, I didn’t even apply to that many graduate schools because I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted to do. All those times, I pushed through the misery and kept working. Why don’t I do the same right now? Maybe I am just tired. Maybe once I defend my dissertation, I’ll forget about all this nonsense and be happy and in love with the research I produced. Or maybe that’ll happen once I teach my first class as a tenure-track professor. My point is, what if I’m quitting just when things were supposed to get better? It’s that feeling that I can’t look away from the TV because it’s the bottom of the eighth and if I do, I might miss that defining home run.

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One comment

  1. S

    Don’t delude yourself into thinking “it’s just about to get better.” It doesn’t. The odds are slim and if you were to get the “golden ticket TT” (which you won’t) you’d quickly find how much more irritation you’d feel with the academic bully culture, the scant resources, etc. Plus, wait till you publish and have other petty idiots destroy your work (not critique–there’s a difference). It’s always the “if only.” If only I got the TT, if only the grant, if only…you know what? What you know now about the academic industry doesn’t change once you’re on the other side. It only intensifies. The stress, the immature need to be validated, the fears and shame over “having a life”, etc.

    Bottom line–you do what needs to happen in your life. But, again, do not delude yourself.

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