Thursday, March 13, 2014

What's Grad School Like?

Here's an article from one of the key resources for anybody in academia, or thinking about a Ph.D. leading to an academic career, The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The description here was very true to my own experience; difficult, sometimes disheartening, a crap-shoot in terms of getting a good job. I looked the writer up in the directory for the college that hired him, and found that he may be a lot like you (or where you want to go), Niagara English undergrads:
  • Got his B.A. at St. Joseph's University (Catholic, Jesuit, Philadelphia).
  • English professor, with some interesting new-fangled stuff: "Digital Humanities, Higher Education, American Literature and Culture."
  • And got his Ph.D. from Harvard University (bow down 3 times! The premiere name in higher education! Far above my humble alma mater Indiana University).

And even with these credentials, had trouble getting a job.

The moral of the story: Beware. Be very 'ware. Grad school can be great. A life as a college English professor can be great. But remember that what you see when you see your own professors is the survivors of a system designed (I sometimes think) to crush the human soul.

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