Hello to those of you who have recently discovered this blog, especially to those of you who left such lovely comments. (I will, belatedly, try to respond to some of them.) Thanks also to JC for linking to me!
I feel remiss for sort of abandoning this blog recently—I felt a few weeks of shaky exhilaration about the idea of leaving, and then as February got underway I had to deal with the fact that I haven’t left yet and have a pretty busy term with papers to grade and papers to write. Even today, I really should have been working on an article draft, but instead I wasted the day in bed, crying intermittently about my life, and stuffing my face. While this did require leaving my house to get food, I mostly brought it back home and ate it, yes, in bed. Sometimes I even almost cried en route to procuring food. There is nothing that makes me feel like less of a failure than being an adult woman who nearly bursts into tears while walking down the street on a cold, but otherwise lovely, Tuesday morning. It doesn’t help that this is the first day I’ve been able to just be at home in about nine days, since I also started working my second (third, really?) job again, which dominates my weekends and is utterly exhausting. But I feel like I have to hang on to it, because what if I just really need some part-time hours after I leave school? Or if I decide to stay but still need to pay the bills this summer? But if only I had those weekends to write that article draft. Or, you know, to have a weekend.
(With that in mind, it’s also kind of hilarious that my university-provided therapist seemed to think I was doing so! much! better! just because I happened to be having a better-than-usual day when I last saw her a few weeks ago. On the one hand, I’m very grateful to have pretty good health insurance and am anxious about losing it if/when I leave school. [I hate the dentist, but blergh, I really need to get my teeth cleaned and examined while I still can!] On the other hand, the mental health services at my school still leave a lot to be desired. Grad students tend to have issues that can’t just be resolved in six to eight sessions, you know?)
At least, as I’ve been doing the professionalization activities that I’ve had to do, I haven’t felt any renewed desire for the academic life. Mostly, I’ve felt bitter and irritated with myself for agreeing to do these things. Deep-down, I don’t really think academia as a whole is stupid and pointless, but I feel like a lot of stupid and pointless bullshit is happening around me these days. Yes, there are a lot of brilliant academics and I respect and admire their work, but a lot of this just feels like such a waste of time and energy. At this point, I frequently want to just say “Fuck it!” (loudly, in public) and flounce off.
So, I’m in this sort of weird limbo right now. It’s essentially the same situation I’ve been in for the last month or more, but my advisor knows now that I want to leave, and (s)he is thankfully a very practical and understanding person. But I won’t get to have an extended talk with Advisor for another week, and I’m not sure exactly what’s going to be worked out then. Hopefully a plan for what (if anything) I need to do to leave with a Master’s. In the meantime, I need to get a draft of this #*@&! article ready, even though I don’t care about getting it published ever (that probably sounds like a weird situation, but I’m trying to remain vague-ish). I’m also worrying a lot about what will come after I leave, what kind of job I might get and how long that might take, but I think I’ll leave that as a post for another day.
I guess next week may be a big week: meeting with Advisor (which I’m looking forward to), therapy appointment in which I will have to advocate for myself to get what I actually need (ugh, ugh).
To follow up on my previous post, I started a new Twitter account under my own name. Of course, I only have about one follower and two tweets, so this isn’t exactly helping me seem web-savvy yet. But, baby steps. I started a new blog, but I keep changing the URL from my full name to something that only refers to my real name. I can’t decide if the URL must be serious and matter-of-fact, or if I don’t want it to be that easy to track down. Right now, I’m going with the latter. I still don’t know what to write on this blog, of course. This situation reminds me of being a child, surrounded by all the very nice art supplies given to me by my artist aunt, wanting to draw something but having no idea what to make. I do remember once copying the San Francisco 49ers logo with some of those very nice watercolors. Usually, though, I just drew anthropomorphic animal figures, and I recall my mother looking at them and wondering aloud why the lady rabbits had such big bosoms.
What I meant to write about here is that I met with someone from my university’s career counseling center today. The meeting turned out better than I expected, although I’m not sure I found out anything absolutely brand-new. I was offered a lot of information about career exploration groups. I also found out that I should be using more of the online resources that are available to me; I wasn’t sure if LinkedIn was really a thing I had to use, but apparently it is “Facebook for grown-ups.” So, I feel better about wasting time this week fiddling with my profile there. I was also assured that some of the professional connections I have aren’t too tenuous to ask them for informational interviews. I had a hunch that I could or should get in touch with these people, so it was nice to know that doing so wouldn’t be too weird or inappropriate. (As someone who drew pictures of buxom rabbit-women as a child, I often worry about being weird.) Actually taking this step still feels daunting, even though (or maybe because) it sounds like it’s pretty crucial for getting a job.
Maybe I need too much validation, but the most valuable part of the interview came when I asked the counselor what she thought about Finishing vs Not Finishing. Her response was that whether I finish my dissertation is less important than whether I decide to finish, because she’s seen too many unfortunate situations where people leave there degree programs without being able to admit that that’s what they’re doing. Myself, when I think about leaving, when I think about how much my heart isn’t in this, I feel so light! Like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. And then I remember all the ‘professionalization’ I’m in the midst of doing right now—how much I don’t want to do it, how much I don’t care, and how much work it is that I don’t want to do and don’t care about, ugh.
But toward the end of the meeting, the counselor said she wasn’t very worried about me, and that I was making healthy choices. I am still kind of worried about me, and maybe she was just trying to be encouraging, but this was definitely good to hear.