Jan Freeman writes The Word column for Ideas.
Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, editor, and multimedia producer.
Christopher Shea writes the Critical Faculties column for Ideas.
Send the Brainiac bloggers a comment on a post.
See the latest Ideas stories that appeared in The Boston Globe.
Visit the Ideas section
Week of: November 11
Week of: November 4
Week of: October 28
Week of: October 21
Week of: October 14
Week of: October 7
Mind the gap
What he learned in the newsroom
Mr. Boffo lays an eggcorn
Curse of the mummy's tummy
More in Word Watch
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Diary of a mad grad student
One of the most insidious dangers of grad school is that it's packaged and sold as a temporary state, rather than as the substantial chunk of our lives it actually is. The sales pitch tends to influence us to such an extent that many of us make bad choices about taking care of ourselves, our finances, our stuff, and our relationships--because we believe we'll get around to it later, once we actually have a predictable income and some security.
So reads an extremely tortured post on the unfailingly interesting blog of "Ancrene Wiseass," a self-described "would-be medievalist."
I've been realizing with increasing frequency how damaging that kind of thinking can be, particularly since predictable incomes and modicums of security are scarce on the ground for new academics. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder whether this isn't, perhaps, the very worst effect of the Big Lie about graduate "education" within the corporate university. How many of us are damaging or losing our physical, emotional, and financial health while we continue to do the lion's share of undergraduate teaching and scramble to meet professional standards that are set higher and higher every year, all the while being told not to look as though we're eager to "pre-professionalize"?
As a refugee from graduate school myself, I feel her pain. I took one look at the walking-dead Ph.D. candidates in my department and dropped out. That was almost 15 years ago. No regrets. I feel your pain, Ancrene!