Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not just bad. Miserable.

From College Misery, February 22, 2011

tuesday: miserable haiku


what do you want from
me? i, bottomfeeder, teach
again: subject, verb.


the returning snow
fills the little hollow place
that once housed desire.


"why you so hard? what's
wrong with you? this is bullshit."
i am overpaid.


the coffee smells like
elevation in a cup.
sadly deceiving.


  1. The 100 Reasons NOT to go to Grad School is still out there....

    1. The smart people are somewhere else.
    2. Your colleagues are your competitors.
    3. Your pedigree counts.
    4. It takes a long time to finish.
    5. Graduate school is not what it used to be.
    6. Intellectual expectations are falling.
    7. Labor demands are increasing.
    8. There are very few jobs.
    9. It is very, very hard.
    10. There is a psychological cost.
    11. There is a psychological cost for quitting.
    12. Adulthood waits.
    13. Respect for the academic profession is declining.
    14. Adjuncthood awaits.
    15. Marriage and family usually wait.
    16. Where you live will be chosen for you.
    17. Funding is fleeting.
    18. Fellowships are few and far between.
    19. These are the best years of your life.
    20. Few ideas are exchanged.
    21. Graduate seminars can be unbearable.
    22. The liberal arts do not attract investment.
    23. There is a pecking order.
    24. “You are still in school?”
    25. Academe is built on pride.
    26. Some graduate students are more equal than others.
    27. The academic bubble may burst.
    28. Writing is hard.
    29. You may not start with plans to be a professor, but...
    30. You occupy a strange place in the world.
    31. There are biological consequences.
    32. The university is an economic engine.
    33. There is too much academic publishing.
    34. There is too little academic publishing.
    35. Mumbo-jumbo abounds.
    36. “So what are you going to do with that?”
    37. The university does not exist for your sake.
    38. The tyranny of the CV.
    39. You are asked to do the impossible.
    40. Faddishness prevails.
    41. Teaching is your first priority.
    42. Your workspace reflects your status.
    43. Attitudes about graduate school are changing.
    44. Advisers can be tyrants.
    45. Nice advisers can be worse.
    46. You may not finish.
    47. It requires tremendous self-discipline.
    48. The two-body problem.
    49. There are few tangible rewards.
    50. You are surrounded by graduate students.
    51. You are surrounded by undergraduates.
    52. Your adviser’s pedigree counts.
    53. Teaching assistantships.
    54. “What do you do for a living?”
    55. There are too many PhDs.
    56. Grading is miserable.
    57. Rejection is routine.
    58. The one-body problem.
    59. You pay for nothing.
    60. The tyranny of the dissertation.
    61. Unstructured time.
    62. You have no free time.
    63. Your friends pass you by.
    64. Smugness.
    65. Teaching is less and less rewarding.
    66. “Why are you studying that?”
    67. There is a star system.
    68. It is stressful.
    69. It is lonely.
    70. It is unforgiving.
    71. The tenure track is brutal.
    72. The humanities and social sciences are in trouble.
    73. Perceptions trump reality.
    74. Academic conferences.
    75. You can make more money as a schoolteacher.
    76. There is a culture of fear.
    77. It attracts the socially inept.
    78. It takes a toll on your health.
    79. The tyranny of procrastination.
    80. “When will you finish?”
    81. Comprehensive exams.
    82. Teaching is moving online.
    83. It narrows your options.
    84. The politics are vicious.
    85. It is not a ticket to the upper middle class.
    86. It is a state of being.
    87. The financial rewards are decreasing.
    88. You are not paid for what you write.
    89. Virtually no one reads what you write.
    90. Virtually no one cares about what you are doing.
    91. Downward mobility is the norm.
    92. There is a social cost.
    93. There is no getting ahead.

    ....as am I.

    1. I am out there, too, but it's more like, "out there." Or so I've been told.

  2. the returning snow
    fills the little hollow place
    that once housed desire.

    This is so sad. And so aptly captures despair. I love Greta!!

  3. After reading this, and the tweets below, I'm not sure whether August or February is the cruelest month. A good case has been made for both (and of course we'll have to consider T.S. Eliot's argument for April as well, though I think academics are mostly too overwhelmed in April to think about how overwhelmed they are, which somehow makes it semi-bearable).

    And it's good to see Strelnikov. Hi, Strelly!

    Now if only Greta would check in, my week would be complete (well, that, and I need to survive an ungodly number of student conferences, but I'm trying not to think about that for a few hours).