Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grad School: I don´t talk about this much cause I try to suppress this shit

A friend of mine sent me this article from salon.com. The author, a T.V. reviewer does a fine job of comparing prostitution to what the majority of us have accepted and know as the daily cubicle grind. That is, get it up the ass by The Man in exchange for money.

I am currently trying to remember when the precise moment was that I decided to stop idealizing my future and just deal with the life-sucking reality of needing money.



Could it have been at midnight on my 30th birthday, by chance? Could it have been the day I defended my MA thesis but for some reason let the door hit my ass on the way out, because I could not spend another day of living like a damn leech?

The pull. Have you ever felt it? This fucking academic pull. The pull is the thing in my brain that teases me telling me I quit something I was somewhat good at. I quit that outlet for all of my brain energy that actually produced something tangible and real and above all, worth it (the creation of knowledge), that I now use to decide which pumps to wear to work and which lame report no one will ever read I´ll put together for some dumbass in H.R.

I know, I know. 95% of the what is produced in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ends up in the stacks bound and never to be cracked open again until some schmuck thinking there might be a job for him in academia goes to write his thesis and finds that shit again, buried under a giant pile of "knowledge". An enormous chunk of what goes on in academia is intellectual masturbation, mutual intellectual masturbation (I´ll cite your pointless study in my next journal article that no one outside our esoteric jerk circle will read, if you do the same to mine. Aaaah. That feels good.)

I know all these things.

But I feel the pull. It´s the same one I used to feel for travel.

I feel this pull because I know that in the context of those circle jerks, some people really get off, I mean, they really create something worthwhile, that even the jack-offs all around them are contributing to or are at least contributing to the environment that allows them to do so. So maybe I don´t mind being one of the mediocre ones, if I´m part of a process that I believe has worth.

But then there is that annoying bug inside my brain that brings up the point that maybe I quit because I could not cut the mustard. Ok, those bastards in academia did scare the living hell out me when they demanded a coherent argument when I had no possible way to formulate one (ignorance is not bliss in grad school, it is called humiliation). It also scared the hell out of me that all of the professors in my department had degrees from the Ivy League, so where the hell did all the state University PhD´s go to make a living?

Thoughts about going back arise when I stop thinking about the practicalities of money, mortgage, life, kids, responsibility. I start thinking about it when none of those things fulfill me or seem to have a glimmer of hope to fully do so. But even in the crazy ivy tower world, it is a rat race. The University only lets you stick around if you are producing good shit.

And this is where I ask myself the scary question: am I capable of it? Answer to self: Oh fuck, maybe not. And then I go home, watch a stupid movie, wake up the next day and go to work. At least if I was a prostitute I wouldn´t have to get up so damn early.

Time for a change.

-Bluestreak

"Reality tag" by Scoobymoo from Flickr

10 comments:

Tobi said...

Pay attention to the pull.

Global Gal said...

I've been a professional student for something like 30 years now. I'm about to finish my MLS in December and I'm already getting antsy, trying to decide what to study next. It's a pull alright. I don't think it can be ignored.

Captain Steve said...

The pull is constant, my friend. And loved, because I desperately do not want to settle! Currently I am whoring myself out to the highest bidder in my field, but not forever. Listen to tobi: pay attention to the pull.

Manager Mom said...

I have been feeling the pull to do something different as well.

And I think I'm going to get laid off soon, so I might have my chance. Or kick in the ass, depending how you look at it.

Maggie, Dammit said...

Dude. Nice voice.

In my experience, there are always pulls, no matter which side of the fence I hop. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm inclined to agree with Tobi...(and Captain Steve, by default, but I almost always agree with her anyway because she is a lovely genius.)

kate said...

Hmm. I do understand what you're syaing, at least in part (my classes so far haven't been all that inspiring for the most part, but I have really gotten into the stuff I've been reading for writing the papers.) I do love to learn and was drooling over the grad/postgrad catalog that came in the mail before we left. But, I am also just as happy to be almost done with my program (if one more year is almost done) and soon to be freer to pursue only that which I am intrigued by, as opposed to what I have to study for a class.

But I also think that if you are feeling the pull, you should listen to that. Do you have anything concrete in mind for now?

I also know that coming here put a big damper on any career plans or dreams I may have held, with the job market, economy, situation, etc. as it is. In the end I think I've found a solution that will work well for me on a practical level (no need to cobble together childcare for school vacations and such) and also allow me to feel like what I'm doing is worthwhile and somewhat engaging intellectually, even if it's not what I ever would have planned. But, I'll have to get back to you on that once I actually start teaching.

Whatever you decide, good luck. I know the Spaniards just take for granted that work is for paying bills, not personal fulfillment, but we Americans tend to have a harder time with that concept...

Bluestreak said...

thanks to all newbies for stopping by for a read.

and for the encouraging words, ones I don´t hear often inside my brain or with the folks I mingle with (i.e. family).

And kate, thanks for the perspective re things here. I haven´t even thought of that monster yet (Spanish university system), but guess I should since, Oh yeah, I live here.

Rassles said...

Definitely dropped out of grad school as well. But I wasn't good at it, I'm not an intellectual, and I hate professors...so why was I continuing my education to become one of them? Nonsensical.

Still, the pull is constant and will never go away, like the fucker who directed Rush Hour.

Can it be quenched by independent study, and then perhaps you could nudge yourself back into a university?

However, still, there is nothing wrong with the cubicle grind. Before there were cubicles the drones were called farmers.

miss hell said...

you gotta listen to your gut and if you feel like you need a change and aren't sure what it is... school always buys time and opens doors. you know here in spain grad school is much more affordable and if life were to get in the way.. you could always work something out. and i'm not saying this cause i want you to work on my doctorate project with me... ^_^

Kristy said...

yes prostitutes dont ave to get up so damn early but they do have to wear a rainbow of hideous neon colours in un-natural fabrics. thats gotta suck.