Thursday, February 13, 2014

What's after grad school?

If you are (or think you may be) headed to graduate school after you've finished your undergrad education, especially to get an academic job, you really need to have something more concrete in your planning notebook than "I just love reading literature." Because that's probably the last thing you'll have a chance to do. (Ugh. That one was painful for me.)

To find out what the start of an academic life looks like, you can read some of the materials on the English Department website, under the subheading "Graduate school/career planning" (you've got to scroll down). Here's a link to the page where you'll find this material:

On the other hand--what does going through the grad experience get you? What does it make you into? Hopefully, the answer is not "dreadfully underemployed and cranky." Because academic tenure-track jobs may be "soooo 20th century." (More colleges and universities are hiring adjuncts at crap wages to staff their classrooms.) And your mentors in grad school have been off the academic market for at least a decade, and likely have only a vague sense of what it takes to get a job. (Shocker, right? Us old farts are behind the times.)

However, you can prepare yourself. Read Inside Higher Education (e-published only, free, 

And if you can, read The Chronicle of Higher Education. It's paper and e-published, much of it behind a paywall, but some free bits, -- check to see if you can find it in a library or through your home department... hint, hint, Niagara English students).

One resource that is free in the Chronicle: Blogs. Like this one:

Which has links to this author's own blog, here: and to another Chronicle site she contributes to:

Get to know the culture before you commit the next 10 years of your life. Before that culture eats you alive like it's a zombie.

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