I think I need to take a year to think about my options. (THANK you for being honest enough with me to help me see this.)
After visiting Berkeley and talking to a professor in the Rhetoric department, I’ve become convinced that I need to take time to think very deeply about my future. I’ve always felt like I’ve had to contort my manner(s) of thinking and writing and seeing and being in the world in order to produce work that is academic (or even intelligible as “logical,” “intelligent” or “coherent”), but until recently I was certain that academia was the best option available to me. I thought it was worth it. But I had been failing to deal pragmatically with the fact that what I love about academia–that it provides a powerful platform for the deployment of new methods of reading life and the world that can promote greater justice and understanding–was but one tiny part of an entire culture and lifestyle that in many ways grates against who I am…and in ways I’m not interested in brooking.
At this time I plan to take the GREs (since I’ve already paid for them and I’m sure it will be good practice), then take a solid year before I even think about applying to grad school. In the meantime, I want to research every avenue I can.
But that also means, of course, I will not be needing a letter from you any time soon.
Do you think this is a good plan?
Thanks immeasurably for your help, honesty, and genuinely-motivated concern.
she writes in reply:
That’s great to hear, Erin. Yes, you might as well take the GRE–it can’t hurt.
And DO take a year to think about your options. You are exactly right that the
awesome parts of academia are but one tiny aspect of an industry that has many
deep problems. I think you can find much better options for your life. I
always recommend that people go into academia only if they truly cannot be
happy in any other profession, and I don’t think that’s the case with you. So
yes, go to Alaska, think, exist, explore, and have fun! You have a wonderful
life and career ahead of you, with many possible paths and options. And if it
does turn out, later, that academia is right for you, you will still have that
option (and a recommendation from me).