Tuesday, February 3, 2009

That's Professor Garrison to you

The Whitney of an alternative universe is currently pursuing her PhD in Political Science on a full-ride to Baylor University with dreams of becoming a caring and energetic professor of political science and (hopefully) intro to economics. I like to think this is still a possibility (just not at Baylor), so this Chronicle of Higher Education article takes some of the wind out of my sails. These characterizations about aspiring PhDs make me feel naive:
# They are excited by some subject and believe they have a deep, sustainable interest in it. (But ask follow-up questions and you find that it is only deep in relation to their undergraduate peers — not in relation to the kind of serious dedication you need in graduate programs.)

# They received high grades and a lot of praise from their professors, and they are not finding similar encouragement outside of an academic environment. They want to return to a context in which they feel validated.

# They are emerging from 16 years of institutional living: a clear, step-by-step process of advancement toward a goal, with measured outcomes, constant reinforcement and support, and clearly defined hierarchies. The world outside school seems so unstructured, ambiguous, difficult to navigate, and frightening.

# With the prospect of an unappealing, entry-level job on the horizon, life in college becomes increasingly idealized. They think graduate school will continue that romantic experience and enable them to stay in college forever as teacher-scholars.

At least it validates my decision to continue working full-time while pursuing a more practical M.P.P. part-time. I can still decide to pursue this pipe dream later on in life.

1 comment:

benzta said...

Wow, my rejection by the Government PhD people at Georgetown is looking more and more like a blessing-- I don't feel like any of those statements. I love my unstructured life!

But Whitney... Baylor? I mean, really? Baylor? Ugh...