Monday, April 16, 2007

Much Ado About Nothing

Well, it turns out my employers never found out about my Master's degree after all. A decision was made at the last minute to not include the credentials of the office staff, given that most patients would rather know the qualifications of the therapists over those of the peons... er, admin people. I personally think the move is smart, but I also think it's sneaky. I think the higher ups thought to themselves that it might reflect poorly on the clinic to have such qualified people doing regular-jane jobs for slightly less than average wages (the other admin people have at least BAs, too). Ah, well.

Anyway, my experiences lately have been stoking ye olde academic fire in my belly, although I'm certainly the last person in this world who would have ever thought my mind could turn in that direction ever again. When I made my grand exit out of university (last April already!), I was given a gentle talking to by my dear supervisor. Like the all-knowing chorus in a Greek play (most likely a tragedy), she seemed unwavering in her conviction when she told me:

"You can't escape the academy, Dana. It's your destiny."

(And yes, she said it just as ominously and outrageously as it seems. This is a direct quote!)

I had laughed her comments off at the time, thinking them to be overdramatic and even a bit preposterous (me in the university?! Forever??!!! Hahahahaha-- good one!) But deep inside, I was shaken. She just seemed so sure of herself. Would I really end up back in the academy? The same university that had sucked my soul out with the intensity of a leech on a vampire using a vacuum in a black hole? (Kudos to ffwd magazine for enlightening me on the degree to which things could suck!) Could I ever escape my so-called destiny?

Well, the first year following my thesis defense didn't prove to be so difficult. If anything, I was still getting over my dry heaves and anxiety attacks until this March at the very least. I thought about the stress-ridden, eternally preoccupied demon I had become during my MA program, and I couldn't believe that poor Marty managed to suffer through it all. He even married me halfway through my program! (Now that's what I call commitment!) When I think of school, any excitement or curiosity that I feel about researching and learning is nearly instantly overtaken by nauseating memories of having no time or life outside of school. And debates. Endless debates and 'critical engagement' with the 'issues'. Blech. I hate debating.

So with all of these nasty thoughts about university, why is it that lately I've been feeling the yearning to learn? I've been searching through university websites listlessly, hoping to stumble upon some program that would jump out and squeal 'take me!'... So far, nothing, but I'm still searching. How odd.

I think I've finally come to terms with what my professor sensed all along: I would never be fully satisfied in a job where my skills weren't fully utilized and where I couldn't flex my brain muscles. Many jobs outside of the university just won't cut it for somebody who has the geeky desire to do research running through her veins! Sure, I'm learning at my job now, but it's not the same. Not at all.

So, in the meantime, although I hear the siren call of... um... proselytizing?... I haven't yet turned my ship towards that sweet destruction. And as far as destiny is concerned, when it comes down to it, I'd much rather have my destiny be to carry out my life in the academy than to kill my mother, marry my father, and then scratch out my eyes in horror when I find out what I've done. Maybe it's just me, though.


Tangerine Dreams said...

Funny comment you left of Edie with a look in her eye of forlorn or something like that! I did see Everything is illuminated> Awesome! And I think you should just stay home and write a book. Any book. You're an amazing writer I think.

Rose said...

Any book, that's quite a recommendation. You may find other satisfying ways to flex your brain muscles but I most certainly know what you mean. University (though I haven't participated in it at the level that you have) certainly can be a different type of mental gymnastics than you'll find in most jobs. that being said, possibilities are endless and good things can lurk around every corner. I've decided that yes, good things "lurk" just as much as bad. I have faith in you, not that it matters.

Anonymous said...

Hey Llna- can you knit up some fashion pocket protectors for fashion 'Ladeeez' who like to learn?
I can't stop hanging out at the U of C library... I spend geeky amounts of money photocopying academic quarterlies, and throw terms like 'critical discourse' (the visual arts version of 'issues' and 'engagement') around with alarming frequency.
You just didn't teach me the times tables and how to write in cursive and how to do everything else ahead of the other kids- YOU INSTILLED ME WITH SUPREME NERD OMEGA POWER!!

Wednesday L said...

WHOA! This shit is WHACK!
'Anonymous' is actually 'WENDELORES', your middle sister, YO!

Delia said...

Well, if I remember correctly, I've told you not once, but several times that you'll have to do your PHD cause you are cut for it. It's almost like a duty once you realize that you have something to say. See, I'm not the only one seeing the light in you ;))