Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Teenage mother, cuckolder, successful litigator, prom queen

Anne suggested that it would be easier if, when talking about people on TV shows, we substituted names of people she knows so that she can follow along more easily. In this way I've been a teenage mother, a cuckolder, a successful litigator, and a prom queen all in the last week. (Only one of these was ever true of me. Which one?)

I've been thinking lately about my time at Penn and my last couple of years of grad school in particular, which I guess is another way of saying that I've been thinking about the last four or five years. One of our interns from the summer is thinking about getting a Ph.D., maybe in linguistics, and she asked what I thought about that and whether it seemed like a good idea. Of course whether it's a good choice depends on a range of factors, not least of which are your intended department and your basic personality and how it is likely to fare in the psychodrama that is a doctoral program; of the fact that it is a psychodrama do not allow yourself to doubt. There is a near 100% overlap of my friends who go through existential crises every three and a half minutes and my friends who finished, or even more so, got close to finishing without actually finishing, a Ph.D. Normal people go through this stuff like normal people, when work or family is tough and no more than once every year or couple of years. Not so most of my grad school friends, most of whom still don't know what they want to do when they grow up and are variously concerned about it or drinking too much to be concerned about it. The exceptions, of course, are the people who realized within the first couple of years that they wanted to bail and took a masters and left and the ones who finished feeling strong and who probably entered into their professional lives with pretty good jobs.

I'm wondering if I'm going to reach a point where more of my friends are basically stable and settled than are not, or if everyone is always going to be in chaos because I've made friends with people for whom chaos is a kind of stability.

Either way, I'm seriously ready for a good night's sleep.


Blogger heathalouise said...

So, are we in grad school because we are crazy? Or are we crazy because we are in grad school? I honestly do not know, but I do know that this is one of those weeks in which I've questioned why I'm doing this 8 million times. (There was a brochure in front of the Journalism Dept.'s advising office that said "Why Grad School?" and the first thing that popped into my mind was, "Exactly.")

6:38 AM  
Blogger Kieran Snyder said...

Ah, life's mysterious and unsolvable questions. You're in grad school because you're crazy, and you're crazy because you're in grad school. And it figures that one of my neurotic grad school friends would answer this post.

For what it's worth, it's easier on the other side. And when I finished my Ph.D. my first instinct was to go out and get another one. Until my dad and Chris both threatened to never talk to me again. Now that I have a job job and have forsaken academia, I actually feel pretty good about it, and I don't have a lot of desire to be back. Hell yeah baby.

8:43 AM  

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