academia: what on earth??

It’s recently been suggested that I undertake a PhD. It all began when an acquaintance started listing my pros and cons (more cons than pros… I guess that proves I’m human?) and declared that I should focus on one thing instead of picking up tidbits of projects and losing focus. Sure, I’m not organized, but I like variation – variety is, after all, the spice of life… right? Besides, why shouldn’t I be allowed to do more than one thing at a time? Is there a magical rule that demands I focus on one thing, one subject, one calling, for the rest of my life? When there are so many things to learn about and explore in just one lifetime, do I really have to stick to one?

After a day or two of getting defensive and panicking about my inadequacies as a human being, I began to look into the possibility on a more serious level. My conclusion thus far:

me??? PhD??? What have you been smoking?!

I’ll admit, I’ve never thought of it before – I was quite content with a masters, and was considering a second masters, if I was to proceed with anything academic at all. Though I love learning, I find an academic environment extremely unhelpful and, well, infertile. I have a lot of trouble with academic writing, possibly because I don’t try hard enough or just because I’ve never been interested in something long enough to pursue it academically.

PhD! Can you imagine? Dr. Wolf! (if only they could give them to aliases, hehe) It’s ridiculous, really.

I’ve been told I’m smart and make something of myself, if I just apply myself, but in this case, I doubt it. I’m way out of my depth in everything – even the subjects that interest me. I lack the vocabulary to read the books that would be required to cover the gaps, and already feel like a fraud simply for considering it. I could bluff my way through some conversations with people who are educated to that level, but I sincerely doubt that would be enough to get through however many books and words it takes to research a 3-year postgraduate degree.

And then, just when I’ve decided I’m having none of it, another voice speaks up. Barely a whisper that says why not? What are you afraid of? What have you got to lose by asking about it? Are you just being chicken? Quitting before you even start?

Time for me to go to bed and check my privilege while I’m over there.

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