deepjuju: (Default)
[personal profile] deepjuju
So I'm trying to do this academic thing. I'm not too sure about it. At this point, though, I've invested so much that I don't really want to turn back.

I like the work.
I think I like the work?
There's really a lot of it.
And I think I like some of it.
But I'm also really confused.

I dragged my whole family to the gods-forsaken Midwest where there's snow and dark and difficulty making friends and finding jobs. This year seems to be going better, but I think we all feel pretty raw from last year. Problems from last year are not yet resolved. Mainly, we haven't had a full month of paychecks (it's no one's job here to make sure that full-time teachers with contracts get paid on time, so apparently, sometimes, you just get an email two weeks before payday saying that you're not getting paid).

FirstBorn is liking high school so far, but has gone full-tilt misanthrope and is uninterested in participating in anything not required.

Pippin seems to like 8th grade until the subject of homework comes up, and then he has nothing good to say about any of it anymore.

BetterHalf is in a holding pattern.

I'm taking three classes, observing one, working with undergrads in their teaching placements while they work to get certified, and doing administrative work for a digital press. I'm applying to conferences and trying to figure out how to ask a researchable question. I'm a little stuck there.

If I go with the experience that I bring to the program, I should be doing something with secondary schools and teacher education. I still care about those things, and I certainly care about student experiences in school, but I am so burned out. And I'm starting to question whether I was really doing any good for my students. I hold a lot of beliefs about schooling that are not tenable in the current system.

If I go with my fledgling interests, I'll have to learn a whole lot of new things. I don't even know what they all are yet. I've been blogging -off and on- for ten years and lurking in fandom just as long. I'm interested in why people spend their time creating for fan communities, for each other. I'm interested in how and why people educate themselves to participate. I'm interested in the way the durable stories are the ones that allow themselves to be transformed.

I think maybe it's not so easy to allow yourself to be transformed.

So how the hell do I make a dissertation and then a career out of this?

Date: 2013-10-16 05:32 am (UTC)
concinnity: (jessica chin hand)
From: [personal profile] concinnity
The first three years are the hardest and most transforming. After that it is just labor (and crying. and therapy. but mostly labor.). I'm really sorry you're having money issues on top of school and family stress. It's a lot to take on.

Date: 2013-10-17 02:59 am (UTC)
concinnity: (jessica chin hand)
From: [personal profile] concinnity
My best advice is to take a real break over the winter holiday and see how you feel. Like, drop it all and don't touch it for weeks. Are you happy to get back to it at the end, or dreading it?

I'm not saying that because I feel like you need to have a deep calling for your job or w/e, but because I'm a huge believer in doing what makes you happy. Is this making you happy enough? If yes, hooray! Not every day/week/month is going to be great in any job, that doesn't mean it isn't great!

It's true that if you quit or change fields this isn't a life path you can get back on very easily, so it isn't a decision to make lightly. But I will definitely encourage you to drop out at any point in the program you feel like it. It won't mean you're a failure, and it won't mean that you've wasted your time. At most, it might mean that your priorities have changed. Maybe.

Iirc from what I know of your program and where you're at, this is the time to shift paths if you want to stay in school - the longer you're in, the harder it is to shift.

My advice (big grain of salt, ymmv, etc) is to look at the job listings for the things you want to do, and see if you can imagine a life for you/your family in those roles and those places. These kinds of degrees often require another round or two of relocation, so the where is pretty important. Imagine how it would be in those roles and places if everything in your life got suddenly much easier. Imagine what it would be like if something quite bad happened. Both of these scenarios are likely, so. Finally, look around at everything else and see if you can do the kind of work you want to do *without* the degree you're pursuing. You might be surprised.

It's hard stuff, and worth spending your time thinking about. *hugs*

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deepjuju

October 2013

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