Wednesday, June 30, 2010

in which I ask too many questions

I second guess myself. A lot. Maybe too much. Maybe not enough. But there are certain things that are set in stone. The PhD is one of them.

The PhD is usually one of them. I will apply at least one more time to PhD programs. With any luck, cliches will come true and the third time will be the charm.

Three times. I've never failed three times. I only had to take my driving test twice. Everything else, once was enough. And now I feel like I'm setting world records. I'm the only person I know who keeps putting herself through this gauntlet.

And yes, I am being a little dramatic.

This isn't the problem (my history of failed PhD apps or my tendency toward the dramatic). Today my boss mentioned that a job would be opening up in the school I work for. She joked that I should take it. I knew she was joking, I joked back, and I went on with my day. But I couldn't shake the idea of this job.

This job would require a sizable committment. I'm not even sure I'd be qualified for this job. But what about other jobs like it? Jobs that would keep me employed at a steadily increasing salary over the next five years, instead of teaching comp classes while paying yet another university to give me a piece of paper saying that I'm qualified to write poetry.

Poetry. The world doesn't really need more poetry.

I could write poetry while holding another job. A job that pays. A job that would pay for poetry.

I'm writing this, and I'm thinking that I'm crazy. I'm just not sure if the craziness is me doubting my PhD plans, or thinking I should grow-up and get a real job.

Maybe the worst part of my current job is that I'm good at it. That I know I could keep being good in other admin positions. That I could still work at a university, just not as a professor. That I could grow up and join the rest of the world in growing up. There is nothing like school and a studio apartment to make you feel as though your adulthood has been postponed indefinitely.

So: job or school? And what if I send out my applications, and they make the decision for me? What do I do then?


Christian said...

That's a lie. The world does need more poetry. I just don't think you should rely on some dumb university to tell you that you're good enough or the right kind of poet. Because I think you are.

FoxyJ said...

Yes, the world does need poetry. And you can still write poetry even if you have a 'real job'. Being an artist doesn't have to mean suffering and starving. I'm biased because I walked away from a PhD program last year with no regrets. That's me and only you know what's best for you. But the cold, hard truth is that there are lots of good PhD candidates out there and very few slots for them in programs, and even fewer jobs for them when they are done. More and more schools are moving towards adjunct positions instead of tenure-track. But you probably know that already. My personal, biased, opinion is to jump on the good job, then use your good salary and benefits to take time off and travel while writing poetry.

Lekili said...

You are so brilliant you can do whatever you dang well please. If the Ph.d. is set in stone, I'm not sure you can let yourself walk away from it. I'm all for the good job but I'm pretty sure both options are available in Utah...right?

Anna B said...

so true, the world does need more poetry, particularly your poetry. also, i think you would be totally phenomenal in a phd program and i think you'd love it. also i think you are a gifted teacher. this is not true of all people. you are uniquely fitted for a phd, in my opinion.

however, i also totally sympathize with the idea of a real job. with money and stuff like that. and the ability to do grown up things, like get a house maybe.

but, the long and short of it is that chicago is just too darn far away.



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