Thursday, October 1, 2009

A New Chapter, Or a Different Story?

When I announced on this blog that I had decided I was done with academia, I expected a lot more push-back. I anticipated scrolling through comments like "What?!" and the like. But I didn't get that. Instead I received supportive, "make the best choice for you"-esque comments. My first reaction to this was: "You guys thought all along that I couldn't hack it, didn't you."

It's amazing to me, how much weight has been lifted by letting go of the whole "I'm going to make a difference in this world" mantra bullshit. I still question myself frequently, wondering if I'm taking the easy way out, or whether I was cut out for it to begin with.

But it's been a major paradigm shift. It's never easy when your entire world outlook changes overnight - when something that used to be marginal in its importance becomes crucial, and the thing you always thought was necessary becomes minor at best.

I had carved myself out a small niche in the world of academic bloggers - a world I no longer feel a part of. In some ways I feel ashamed for backing out of the fight for women academics. In some ways I feel that I have minimized my potential in exchange for peace of mind. In many ways I feel like "the one who gave up." I'm sure that many of you probably think these things about me as well. And that's okay.

I lost a huge amount of readership during my transition. I think that's a big part of why I disappeared for awhile. When you no longer feel there are readers to whom you have an obligation, you begin to wonder what the point is. But I made friends here. PhizzleDizzle, who is one of the awesomest chicks I have ever met, is now way too far away for an in-person friendship to feasibly work, and that makes me incredibly sad. Though I wish her the best, as always! And to all of you, I still support the work that you do and the dreams that you have, and want everything you want in life to happen for you.

That said, I hope many of you will still follow this blog as your look into the path not taken, at least not yet. The path where husbands don't live hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away. Where roots are put down in a small New England town, where jobs are only 40 hours a week, where domesticity is not a dirty word. Where, if nothing else, we can all find out together exactly how long it will take an academic-at-heart to go completely stir crazy before she throws herself back into the rat race.

I'm not quite sure of the direction this blog will take in the coming months. I'll figure it out as I go along. But the title was always "Pieces of Me" so no matter what, I won't truly be deviating from the original intent.

I thought about "outing" myself on the blog, but I've said too many not-nice things about people to do that comfortably. So instead, I will offer to out myself on Facebook to those of you who don't mind outing yourselves in return. If you'd like to get to know me more personally, see who I am, etc., shoot me an email at and I'll give you the link to my facebook profile.

In the meantime, I hope you will continue this journey with me as I figure out what is most important to me and blog about my progress.


Juniper Shoemaker said...

Dudette, I, for one, know full well that you're an academic at heart. And I respect you for weighing carefully the pros and cons of attending graduate school right now. There is every possibility in the world that you will still go at some point, especially since you are so young.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

I love you no matter what your relationship to academia is, and no matter how you blog!

lalaleigha said...

you've still got a place on my google reader feed.

scicurious said...

There is more than one way to be an academic, not all of them involve a PhD or being in the ivory tower.

And of course you COULD hack it, but if it's not worth it, why SHOULD you? I am very proud of you for recognizing that the whole "I need to save the world" thing is not necessarily the best thing for YOUR life. It's probably not the best thing for a lot of us.

I'll be around. :)

Ambivalent Academic said...

Definitely NOT "we knew you couldn't hack it"...though I'm finding that this is a very common (for me) reaction to truly well-intentioned offers of support as well. I think I blogged about it recently, but I'm too lazy to dig up the link.

I'm glad that you're happy with your decision - that's rather the point isn't it? I'll still be around too.

PhizzleDizzle said...

JLK, I have not even logged into google reader for weeks because I've been so freakin crazy over my defense. I have 400+ unread posts.

But I logged in today, and went straight to your entries. I am also really sad that we will no longer be able to be "in-person" friends but I really hope we keep in touch over the InterWebs.

I don't think your readership dropped off when you made your decision, I noticed a huge dropoff in just general activity over the summer...everyone seemed to blog less, and read less...

I still value what you have to write and I don't think there's any reason to "defend" what you have decided to do. My definition of feminism has always been that everyone (men and women) get to do what they would like without false externalities keeping them away from their dreams, and without judgement. That you have chosen that path you have chosen...I support that, as long as that's what you want (and I think the rest of the blogosphere does too).

I think you could have hacked it, for sure. You were way more well-read about your subject than I was about mine, during my application process. WAY. gotta do what you gotta do. And I'm happy for you as long as you are.

Glad A is home.

Now, it's off to bed so I can work some more tomorrow. Sorry rest of blogosphere, you'll have to wait til after I'm a REAL Chick with PhizzleDizzle. I'm so close. Be warned though, AA, the next time I get a moment I'm headed straight for YOUR entries :). Miss you guys.

JaneB said...

I'll still come ny and read - being an academic is not JUST a job, I often think the job is just one of the most visible (and not necessarily comfortable) niches where people with the particular brain twist that makes you 'academic' end up. In English parlance (or at least the parlance of my university generation), my - and it sounds like your - core identity is a 'bluestocking' - female, bookish, determined to make up their own mind, not into power/material things in any competitive way (though we are often surprisingly domestic in selected areas, such as cake baking or crafting or homemaking, and we tend to amass books), fascinated by knowledge for its own sake and driven to find out more and to share what we find with others. Bluestockings can be academics, but they are also found in libraries and bookstores and schools and non-profits and civil service jobs and research institutes and local government - it's a way of being, not a job title.

Maybe you'll study formally again, maybe not - but you'll always be part of the sisterhood of 'academic bloggers', you've got that particular blend of curiosity and independent thinking.

And I for one will follow with interest - alternative paths fascinate me.

JLK said...

JaneB, what an amazing and wonderful comment. Thank you for that - it is very neat to hear yourself described that way. :)

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