Thursday, January 31, 2013

Law Students are Catching On ... Why Aren't Ph.D. Students?

A friend linked to this article on Facebook today, and I wanted to bring it over here for discussion.

The article in question is about law school applications, so it might not seem completely relevant to a blog about leaving a Ph.D. program. After all, law is a profession. Aren't those people who enroll in professional programs like law schools the smart ones? The ones who thought about more than "I like books and writing and teaching; I'll go do that for ten more years!" after undergrad ... and instead thought "I'd like to be a lawyer, so I think I'll go to law school"

Aren't law students who enrolled in their programs when we enrolled in ours the ones who have awesome real jobs now, while we Ph.D. students struggle along in adjuncthood or at a shitty tenure-track job we can't seem to publish our way out of at Nowhereseville State College?

Well, not exactly. Not at all, actually. As the data clearly shows job opportunities for law school graduates have been sharply declining in recent years ... just as more and more new grads with shiny law degrees have been arriving on the market. Meanwhile, law schools are being accused of stretching the truth on their employment statistics in order to attract new students ... and of then shrugging their shoulders when most of their students graduate without job offers.

And (in my opinion, the worst trend of all) law students typically graduate with a debt load that dwarfs the ones that we Ph.D. students rack up. There are few scholarships or work/study programs available to law students, so many (if not most) wind up graduating with $150,000-$200,000 in student loan debt ... for just three years of school.

Friday, January 25, 2013

One Last Week to Submit Proposals for Our E-Book!

Greetings, readers of my poor little neglected corner of the internet!

As of today, there is just one short week left in which you can submit initial 250-word abstracts to be included in the "Leaving Academia" E-book that Currer, Lauren, Jet and I are putting together.

We have received several great submissions, but are still hoping to get more! So if you think you might have something to contribute, please see the CFP below and consider submitting!

Keep in mind - you don't have to be in your dream job or completely recovered from leaving academia to submit. We are hoping to collect stories from a range of people who have had a range of experiences and emotions and feelings about leaving the academic world, at any stage.

So if you're a former faculty member who is now the happy director of a giant think tank ... we want to hear from you! And if you're a former grad student who left ABD and is now working at a "meh" job for the time being (hey...that story sounds familiar!) ... we want to hear from you too!

See the CFP below for information on what we're looking for and how to submit. Thanks!


Have you left academia? Or are you currently in the process of leaving? Share your story!

As post-academic bloggers, we know firsthand that there is a desire for stories that explore more than just the career aspects of leaving the ivory tower. People want to know how, when, and why you quit; emotional issues related to quitting; and examples of post-academic success. We envision this book as a source of advice and support for readers who have quit graduate school before getting their Ph.D., people leaving academia even after they have finished their degrees, and people who are adjuncting or working in academia who are looking to leave. Many stories of the post-academic transition have been told on personal blogs and websites, including our blogs and web site, but this is the first collection has been organized to speak directly to people’s experiences leaving academia.

We’re looking for thoughtful, personal pieces (non-fiction or creative non-fiction) that tell a story or develop a theme related to the process of quitting academia. Like any good paper, the essay should have a core thesis or concept that you’re exploring through your writing. We prefer submissions that are relatively jargon-free and more casual in writing style. Your essay can be any length, with a general goal of 5-10 pages double spaced (but we’ll consider shorter or longer!). If you have poetry, art, or other (digitized) creative work that explores these themes, we’d be interested in that, too.  

This collection will focus primarily on what happened after you quit; thus, we are not interested in treatises about the failures of grad school or the problems in higher education. You’re welcome to explore the reasons and circumstances under which you left, but please continue the narrative forward from there. You can be as anonymous as you like, although please include enough detail that the reader can be drawn into your story. We invite you to explore the messiness, difficulty, and contradictions in the quitting process. 

Not every story has a happy ending, and that’s OK. We encourage submissions on any of these topics, as well as proposals for essays that explore any gaps between them:

  • How, when, and why you left academia: hopes/expectations versus realities in grad school, specific incidents/anecdotes, the job market, what you wish you’d known.
  • Alt-Ac Careers, Adjuncting -- Life on campus when you’re not a prof or student, changes in relationships with “the academy.”
  • Success Stories: how quitting changed your life for the better, how happy you are, how glad you are to be gone.
  • Failure stories: screwing up, falling down, awful jobs, bad experiences, floundering, despair. 
  • If you want to share a simpler or more straightforward story of your post-academic journey, please consider submitting to the website (email Lauren or Currer at the addresses below and specify that your submission is for the website).   

  • Timeline:
    250 word abstracts due: Feb 1st
    Goal of getting back to accepted folks mid-February
    Final essays due: April 1st
    Goal of publication by graduation in May 2013! :)

    Email submissions with “E-Book Submission” in the subject line to Lauren at or Currer at  by Feb 1 2013.

  • Career Transitions: Teaching stories, writing stories, stories of how you discovered a new vocation/path.
  • Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Belated New Year's Roundup Post

    Whew, finding time to blog is hard when you're also trying to work full-time, volunteer a few hours a week, start up a brand spanking new postacademic website, and find a little bit of time to hang out with your partner and pets and yourself! :)

    But I really can't complain ... things are going pretty well for me right now. So, yay.

    But given that we just had another new year sneak up on us, I wanted to write a brief "year in review" kind of post, to sum up how the year has gone and where I hope to go in 2013.

    2012 was a weird year. Upon first glance, it looks like a pretty uneventful year, primarily because nothing much happened for me career-wise. But when I think about it more closely, I actually do think it was a big year for me in my journey out of academia. And even more importantly, I'm hopeful that I'm finally in a good position to make 2013 a really great year.

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    New Links for the New Year!

    Hey all!

    I'll be back this weekend with a more substantive post ... I've been meaning to write up a "2012 Year in Review" post like many of the other postacademic bloggers have done, so I'll get to that this weekend.

    The reason I've been neglecting my own blog, however, is because Currer, Lauren, Jet and I have been busily getting our new postacademic website up and running. We bought a domain, and set a template ... and now we actually have some content up!

    So go check out our new site - How To Leave Academia! It's a work in progress, of course, and we still have some kinks to work out with the template (and a lot of content to add). But it's coming along nicely, and in the meantime we'd love to have folks bookmark it and start sending people over to check it out.

    And as I mentioned in my last post ... if you have any ideas for content or if you'd like to contribute an article or a postacademic success story or just a thought about something that you see over there, leave a comment or email one of us!


    A couple of links to new blogs after the jump...