Friday, January 26, 2007

15 Minutes of Serious Reflection

There's been a serious bout of self reflection going on in my neck of the woods, and the outlook is gloomy.

While I realize I should be happy that graduation is fast approaching, I'm disheartened because I am absolutely positively burned out. It's to the point that I cannot physically make myself sit down and work on my thesis. I know if I knuckled down I could be almost completely done in two weeks. Can't do it. Don't wanna.

So, as I said, I've been doing some thinking and I'm more or less leaving my fate up to the universe to decide for me. If I get into Illinois, I'll go directly into my PhD. If not, even if I get into one of the other programs I applied to, I will most likely take some time off.

Having had a real job (as opposed to being an indentured servant...aka "graduate assistant") for a few years, I do miss a few things about living and working in the real world. Namely having a steady income that doesn't suck. With my Masters I could probably get a job pulling down 36-40 thousand a year and that would do me just fine. I have a physically sick feeling when I think of all the debt hanging over my head. At least $70,000 in student loans and a couple of thousand in credit card debt (leftovers from textbook purchases and summer tuition). On a positive note, I have $4,000 in savings, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I need to get going on a money market account and be saving to open an IRA and whatnot.

I would also love to not work 6 days a week. A "real job" might afford me a bit more downtime (as hard as that is to believe) since I wouldn't be strapped with special events to attend and things to plan and conferences to go to and papers to write ALL the fucking time. I might actually be able to read a book I like, go to the gym and work off some of this horrendous weight, and even have a place of my own again. With furniture and everything.

In short, I suppose I'm just missing a normal life. While a normal life might bore the pants off me after a stint outside academia, it also might be just what I need to recharge.

We'll see.

Listening: "The Neighbor"...The Dixie Chicks


  1. Don't you just hate reality? You are the only one who knows what's going to be best for you. The rest of us will be here to support you with whatever you decide!

  2. whatever you decide I just want you to be happy (and to move to north dallas so we can hang out! thats my selfish side coming out)

    For the most part I like my corporate life, but different things float people's boats...

    hugs babe.

  3. Os, I have an odd love/hate relationship with reality. I'm yearning for it at the mo' and that's different!

    Cold, I would be so fuckin' happy in North Dallas. I can't even tell you. Maybe that'll be my goal if I decide to ditch the PhD.

  4. Andi,

    in the fyi column, I was terribly burned out after undergrad and took several years off to work before going on to grad school .. then I did my Masters and Ph.D. in 3 years .. LOL .. I was ready to burn up the tarmac after working in the somewhat real world :))

    Taking some time off isn't a bad thing, at all. It doesn't mean that you will not go on to your Ph.D., at all.

    I advised my son to work a bit before going on to his M.A. because he did a double major and was worn out by it. He took 2 years off to work and is now completely enjoying going for his M.A. and looking forward to moving directly into a PhD program.

    Go with your gut about what's best for you at this point in your life.

  5. That's such a great picture! Oh, I remember being burnt out by University and I didn't even attempt grad school. Hang in there.

  6. Growing up sucks!!!! Sometimes I wish we could have a few hours a day where we were able to go back into our childhood just to play for a bit and get refreshed before returning to reality!

  7. I am feeling a bit disenchanted with school myself. I think you and I should either carnies or clown ballon artists. Yeah, I think after I get that MA I am going to work for a while -not that what we do now is not work. That is why I am not taking any classes this summer. I am going to hang out with hubby, and do grandma things, and read what I want to read, and work on my house, and just be a bum.

  8. Oh doll. I admit, I was afraid you might get burned out. You know better than anyone else what is best for you. But you know we'll all be here in your corner, cheering you on no matter what you decide. Just follow your heart and do what makes YOU happy.

  9. I empathize with you, even though what I do (nothing at all - I'm like Will in About a Boy, when you think about it) is completely different. I've been burned out for about 15 years. I think time off is good, but I'll be cheering you on no matter what you decide.

    North Dallas is nice. I have relatives in Richardson (?), whose home I covet. Where in Illinois might you go?

    Oh, peek at my bird photos on the book blog, if that's the kind of thing that's an upper. It makes me happy, but I know I'm a bubble or two off. :)

  10. Oh, GAWD, I remember those "school's ending and I don't give a rat's arse about ANYTHING" days. But now, from the mature age of (never mind), I wish I'd have gone on for my graduate degree, and DEFINITELY wish I'd have taken my chance to do something cool, like live downtown (Chicago) and do the urban thang. As it is I went suburban, and once you get out here THEY DON'T LET YOU GO BACK...

    If you have the luxury of time I'd say take a cool vacation to (insert destination of your dreams), hang out, drink some (insert favorite beverage), and let it all sink in. Then you'll come back recharged and refreshed, or you'll just stay in (dream destination) forever and give canoe tours or something.

    You'll do great, I know you will! You're so together and sure of yourself, you're just too tired to realize it right now!


  11. Thanks, Suzz. I took time off after undergrad, so that's why I've felt some pressure to go ahead and get these other 2 degrees squared away. But now I'm realizing I shouldn't put so much pressure on myself. I'm my own worst enemy, I swear.

    Thanks, Iliana!

    Carl, that's a fantabulous idea! If you could work on getting that to happen I'd really appreciate it. lol

    Fem, TIME OFF! TIME OFF!! Chant it with me!

    Thanks, Heatheroo. I'll keep y'all posted about the decision fo' sho'. It will really probably hinge on who accepts me for the PhD.

    Thanks, Nancy. :) I might end up in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. ISU is in Normal but the two butt up against one another. We'll see! I'm off to your blog to check out the birds. I love birds.

  12. A-train, I feel your pain. I keep telling myself that I will work on my thesis tonight. We'll see if it actually pans out.

    I think it's just been a terribly stressful past couple of semesters--with the pressure of the thesis, coursework, and all the other crap. But we love this life, remember? Or at least most of the time, right? Really, I just want to rape, ravage, and pillage my bookshelves...

  13. Best of luck to you, Andi! I'm sure that things will turn out well.

  14. I have a friend on the Bloomington side! Cool!

    Thanks for coming to see my big birdy. I used to think people who sat around watching the birds were weird and now I'm one of them. So, of course, that makes us totally cool. Right? Right?

  15. sending you a virtual hug.


  16. E., We do love this lifestyle. Or used to! I just keep thinking: "This never gets any easier." I guess hearing some concerns from some of our best professorly peeps lately has me questioning whether or not I want to struggle like this forever. Because once the PhD is done we go on the job market, once we have a job the race to publish kicks in. It NEVER ENDS. And I wanna buy a house. And clothes. And start saving for retirement. At this rate I won't be able to even think about ANY of those things until I'm 30, and that weirds me out a little. I dunno, call it a quarter-life crisis, I suppose. First chapter went to Thesis Director today. Chapter 2 should be finished this week. I'm forging ahead if for no other reason than to get this bullshit over as soon as possible.

    Thanks, Tish! I appreciate the kind words. :)

    Nancy, we are cool. Way freakin' cool. I'm of the mind that nerdy/dorky is the new chic because that MO fits me perfectly. lol

    Thanks, Heather! I need all the hugs I can get!

  17. Thanks, Lisa! Canoe tours! I hadn't thought of that! LOL
    I'm catalogueing cool career ideas that I wouldn't have thought of on my own, and that one's definitely going on the list. ;)

  18. Hey - the loans will be mostly re-paid by the time you are 30-35, and if you keep saving things wo n't be impossible. You could also spend a year in the real world at a non-taxing job writing and preparing for the PhD to pay off the backlog. Nice blog:)

  19. Hey, Danny, thanks for stopping by! I think the loans will take a bit longer to pay off. I won't even be done with the PhD until I'm 30, so I'm thinking the loans will take until 40ish. But, either way, I'm contemplating the year off. I think it could be good for me.


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