In this week's episode of "Avoiding the Real World" I want to talk about that thing that has taken over my life - graduate school. This time last year, I was waiting to hear back from MA and PhD programs and Leah was looking for a job. You could say that we were a bit of a mess...each of our conversations disintegrated into a stress fest about our futures.
Finally, an acceptance came back (with funding!) and I was set. Two more years of school was going to be the best time of my life. Almost a year in, it has been..and has also been the busiest and the poorest. But hey, can't win 'em all, right?
If you are in grad school, thinking about applying, or contemplating the acceptance in your inbox, take a look through some of the articles I've compiled. I won't promise that each is a ray of sunshine, but neither is grad school.
I foundthis piece from The New Yorker on "The Impossible Decision" of furthering your education, especially interesting, given the conversations my comrades and I have been having lately (spoiler alert, there's no real conclusion one way or the other). Despite being unable to make you life decisions for you, the piece does offer some insights into the pro/con debate. "To Phd or Not to PhD" has been a hot topic of discussion, and like the author of this piece, we might be getting a little jaded toward the magical idea of more graduate degrees. It used to be that an MA or a PhD was the golden ticket to a job offer and a financially secure future. More and more (especially in the humanities), this isn't the case. A professor told me today that 75% of college professors are adjuncts. SEVENTY-FIVE PRECENT. Bye-bye, cushy office and tenure.
If you do decide you still want to take the plunge (which I still encourage...I certainly thought it was worth it), check out the College section of GenTwenty for some really useful pieces on making the most out of your experience. I wish that senior fall Chelsea could've read "Applying to Graduate School: What to Expect" before embarking on that emotional roller coaster!
Finally, once you're there, read this painfully truthful guide to grad school from the faculty of Wash U. The advice it offers is harsh, yet, from my experience, amazingly applicable. It's your education and you get to make of it what you want. For me, that meant designing my own Feminist Theory and Practice course. For another of my friends, that meant getting a cross referenced Education course approved for graduate credit because she felt that it was useful for her future career path. Don't be afraid to ask questions and demand answers, demand change.
Finally (I will conclude my long-winded, rather scary rant here), know what you're in for. Every graduate student I know has a love-hate relationship with their program. You'll be busier than you ever thought you could be. You'll do things you didn't think were possible (60 pages of papers during finals week? That was my Everest). But in the end, what matters is that you love what you're studying. Anyone who has ever heard me hardcore nerd rant about Sylvia Plath or William Faulkner can tell you, that's what true love looks like.
Any questions? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't promise answers, but I can promise a listening ear, "objective" eye, and a "good luck".