Monday, April 4, 2011

Even though...

Even though I’m happier now than I’ve been in years…

Even though I sincerely felt relief when the last school I interviewed with chose another candidate, thus ensuring I was going to be unemployed in academia next year…

Even though I realize I like my part-time job better than my dissertation (and I don’t like my part-time job THAT much, so that should tell you how much I hated my dissertation)…

Even though I don’t miss teaching, and that was the one thing I said I really liked about academia…

Even though I’m a far better partner and friend now that I don’t have constant stress and guilt hanging over my head about the work I *should* be doing…

Even though my family and close friends are supportive…

Even though I love my free time, and the fact that I can read, and write this blog, and spend time with friends, and go to work like a normal person and then be DONE FOR THE DAY…

Even though I've been ecstatic to find I have time for my hobbies again...

Even though I get super-excited when I read about some of the nonacademic jobs that are out there and when I think about the potential cities I could wind up living in ...


…I still have to fight off feelings that I’m a failure for leaving. That I’m just reacting to the disappointment of not landing a job and will regret it someday. That I’m an embarrassment to my department. That I should feel bad about deciding to leave. That I’m deluded, thinking that a non-academic life could make me happy.

Grad school and academia. They mess with your mind.

2 comments:

  1. Wow. You said everything I'm feeling. I'm an ABD history grad, was even working on the dissertation when funding fell out from beneath me, my mom contracted stage iv metastatic breast cancer, and about 5 other things happened to make me decide to leave the PhD program. I'm currently teaching as a part-time instructor, but I feel every single thing you said in this post. Thank you for sharing the thoughts in public.
    ~RJA

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  2. Thanks for commenting! I'm so sorry to hear about your mom.

    I truly believe that leaving was the right decision for me, and that there are a lot of other (currently miserable) grad students and faculty out there who would be better off leaving than staying. That's a major reason I started this blog. I know what a relief it was for me to find other people on the internet saying what I was feeling ... I'm hoping I can do the same for other people.

    But yes, the guilt and occasional worry that I am a failure keeps creeping back into my mind. I don't know how to shake it, but I'm trying.

    Thanks for reading...

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