Sunday, November 12, 2006

Piled Higher and Deeper

Somebody needs to stage an intervention because I’m seriously thinking about going for my Ph.D.

I’m not sure what it is that’s driving me toward this insanity. I just graduated with my Master’s in English teaching this past spring, and I remember all too well the hassle that was. Research. Reading (stuff I didn’t want to read). Writing (stuff I didn’t necessarily want to write). Making time for classes and study and don’t even get me started on all the checks I wrote to the university for the privilege of all that suffering.

Grad school was, for me, a lot like childbirth. It took a lot longer than I really wanted it to take. It hurt a lot more than I was expecting it would. There were a lot of hoops that needed to be jumped through, and not all of them made sense to me at the time (and a lot of them still don’t - I filled out papers at the hospital that I still don’t understand and I was required to do a lot for my degree that, to this day, I don’t think were the least bit relevant to what I understood I was doing). The overall impression of both processes is that they were both painful and very, very momentous. At the end of each, I ended up with something I desperately wanted, but I earned those things with time and sweat and effort and blood.

Not to mention patience. The people who love me (and not a few strangers who read my blogs) were saintly in their endurance of my bitching, whining, moaning and complaining about every little thing I went through. Sure, there were more than a few triumphs in the process, but most of it, it seems to me in hindsight, was just so much railing against the systems. My husband was wildly supportive, my children put up with a lot of my not being around, either because I was in classes or because I was doing homework. I asked a lot of the people who care about me while I was finishing my degree, and I think it might be asking too much to expect them to do it again so soon.

So, what the hell am I thinking?! Ph.D.?!? What on earth do I need THAT for? It’s not going to get me a better job. It’s not going to earn me more respect from my friends, family, peers, coworkers or students. It’s not going to make me a better person. So what is it that’s triggering that little voice in my head to spur me toward earning another degree?

Is it my tendency to overachieve? Is it a desire to ever improve myself? Is it just to prove that I can?

Whatever it is, somebody stop me, please.


Blogger organic mama said...

Why do you WANT one?

Perhaps you're nuts. Maybe it is to show you can. Why not? I mean, aside from the years of work and piles of money.

Ph.D. is the pinnacle, the ultimate academic achievement, and I want to go for one too. Why? Well, because it predicates a great deal of specific, primary research that it entirely up to YOU. Instant expert, albeit in a narrow field, as a result of courses you want to take, things you want to write about and research that YOU direct. I feel like the next few professional years are clandestine research for what I will eventually want to scrutinize for a Ph,D,.

PLUS at the end of the road there's a squishy hat and really cool robes.

November 13, 2006 10:16 AM  
Blogger Kizz said...

Remembering that I know you:

It's because you don't have a full time job and you feel like you should be doing more.

That's not a good enough reason.

There might be a good enough reason and I think it's a good idea to look for it but so far, not so much. :)

Part of my heart still desperately wants a degree of some sort in English Lit but I simply can't justify the time or money to do so, there's nothing it would gain me and so much I'd probably lose for what's essentially bric a brac. I don't have to pay anyone to talk about books with me.

November 13, 2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger Becki said...

I understand the desire. Wouldn't earning a PH.D allow you to teach at a higher level such as college? I'm knew here so let me know if you are already there!

November 13, 2006 5:15 PM  

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