Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Next Steps -- Or, I Don't Wanna.

Wow! It's been almost a year since I last blogged. I'm not a blog expert or anything, but I think this makes me officially bad at blogging.

A lot has happened in the past year. I've laughed. I've cried. I passed all my doctoral exams. I tripped in some gravel at the local grocery store and ended up with a really gnarly scar. That last one seems to occupy most of my time at present. I'm still inwardly cringing with embarrassment.

Being done with coursework has been a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I love that my time is truly my own now -- sink or swim. I don't have to tear my hair out trying to read 300+ pages per class per week on top of grading student compositions and attending meetings. On the other, I miss the intellectual challenges of sitting in a room with my peers once or twice a week and discussing our reading. My cohort is officially 99.9% ABD -- meaning that we're all tearing our hair out individually, and we find time to meet in the office or at Solo to show off our bare scalps and weep gently into our four dollar coffees that some of us really can't afford.

As I sit here, blogging to avoid doing any real reading that would push me further along my route to PhD and the job market -- I wonder why I'm stalling now?

Oh, I know. Because it's terrifying.

The job market is bleak. As humanities students, we're told over and over again that no matter what we do, we're never ready for the market. We're never accomplished enough to stand up to candidates who have been in the field for years and are looking to change institutions. There are exponentially more candidates than there are jobs. The average humanities PhD spends three years on the job market before landing something they'll take -- or anything at all. Blah, blah, blah...

I'm currently staring at a pile of reading suggested by committee. Reading between the lines, they're trying to inject some modernity into my dissertation -- and I appreciate it. It will make me more buzz-wordy and knowledgeable. But part of me just needs to take a moment and bask in the fact that 1) I'm kicking this program's ass. I have two years of funding to finish what promises to be an excellent dissertation, and 2) that I. Can. Do. This. After a rocky first two years during which I doubted I was smart or driven enough to get this far, it feels great to know that I'm keeping up with the pack.

I'm still waiting to hear back from Renaissance & Reformation regarding an article over which I lost blood, sweat, and literal tears. I still have a firm deadline of January for the first draft of my first (and right now, only) confirmed publication. I have a lot of reading to do, and even more revising to do on a dissertation that right now exists in ill-fitting drafts and my too-tired brain.

I am chipping away at this mountain. I will be a professor. Eventually.

But first, Hobbit Day.