(But our beginnings never know our ends!)
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Late Spring To-Do List
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Sing those blues
Right now, I'm feeling good--what with the vita-updating and the general on-top-of-shit-ness that comes from spending the day crossing a gazillion things off my to-do list--but I've been in a funny mood these last few days, often sinking rapidly into despair or oh-what-the-fuck-am-I-going-to-DO? as the evening wears on.
Partly it's the usual late-semester blues, which have me thoroughly sick of all my classes. It's not so much the material--I love what we've reading in my survey sections, and even the material in my comp class is holding my attention for perhaps the first time all semester--but I'm worn out and find it hard to muster the energy to prepare for class. That's no big surprise, I guess, in mid-November.
What's more surprising is that I think part of my low mood is connected to finishing my Ph.D. I certainly wasn't expecting that the actual awarding of the degree would be a transfiguring experience--nothing has changed in my career circumstances, and in any case I really finished my degree six weeks ago, when I submitted the dissertation. But I also wasn't expecting to feel as low as I've been feeling lately.
I got my readers' reports in the mail yesterday, and they were generally quite good. No one said, "the field has been waiting for decades for this project! Lecturess must go find a publisher immediately! And in fact, here's my editor's name!"--but they were encouraging and offered me some very useful suggestions for revision. Still, reading my readers' criticisms brought home to me the fact that nothing HAS really changed in my circumstances other than the degree, and that this project really isn't done yet, or as close to done as I'd hoped it was.
The biggest criticism, and an entirely valid one, was that the project lacks a clear and overarching theoretical framework. True enough: I'm a trees more than a forest kind of person, and I tend to be suspicious of systematizers; as it stands now, my dissertation draws on several different theoretical models, but doesn't fit comfortably within any of them. I already knew that I had to do more reading in a couple of relevant fields before I did anything else with the manuscript. But when I read that, my immediate thought was: "what if I get asked that on a job interview--what my theoretical approach is? I don't have a good answer!"
And, yeah. I think that's what this is all about: the job market. I've been so focused on finishing my degree that I haven't been dealing, at least in recent months, with my larger professional anxiety. I mean, shit: I know a number of whip-smart academics with PhDs from Instant Name Recognition U who took years to land tenure-track jobs. Which leaves me (less than whip-smart, in case you were wondering) exactly where?
Well. We all know that the job market can be grossly unfair. Who's to say, then, that it won't wind up being unfair in my favor!
link | posted by La Lecturess at 10:02 PM |
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