Thursday, November 18, 2004

musings on grad school

I think I've realized a big part of the reason I don't seem to enjoy grad school as much as the other kids in my cohort. You see, I come into this thing 25, married, and an active Mormon. I enjoy being all those things, but in some respects that sets my social life completely apart from everyone else in my class. I don't care about going to the grad-organized parties, because I'd rather spend time with my wife then hang out with a bunch of slowly-getting-wasted English students. I've made a lot of new friends at church, and I'd rather hang out with them then get into a debate about how much the world will suck now that Bush is back in office (did I say debate? There's only one opinion on that around here!).

Add on top of that that I tend to find graduate students and faculty members a little conceited, self-centered, and self-important, and I think it isn't any wonder that I don't feel a great fit here. In the end, I find myself thinking, isn't there something more worthwhile that I could do with my life than write theories and explanations on what literature means? Don't get me wrong; I enjoy finding new meanings and figuring out something no one's thought of before and so on, but in the end, it seems like an industry that solely exists to please itself . . . and that's kind of silly. It's not like medical school, where the knowledge, the papers, etc. go into helping people. Maybe I should go get a job with PBS or NPR or the anti-defamation league or something. I think I could really enjoy any or all of those!

As to whether or not that means I shouldn't get a PhD, I don't know. I still think I'd make a good English professor, especially at a teaching-focused college rather than a research university. And I think teaching literature feels more valuable to me (at least at this point) then endless research into literature.

So I don't know. I guess what I'm saying is I'm too socially satisfied to fit in with everyone else, and I'm not sure I'd want to even if I could. At any rate, I've got another year to think about where I want to go and what I want to do.

Who knows, maybe I'll end up working for the government...

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