my apologies

(Seth... I'm sorry. I had to post this.) Two years and a week ago, I posted this. Seth has prompted me to rethink some things. I don't feel as confident about my personal statement as I did then. And in my re-ruminating, I believe I've come up with what we might call: "Things to ask myself before applying for graduate school." (1) Why the hell would I want to go back to school? (2) Am I certifiably insane? (3) If not, would I like to become certifiably insane? (4) Do I currently like books? (5) Do I want to continue enjoying books? (6) Do I enjoy having nightmares about huge stacks of books that I have not yet read but need to read ASAP? (7) How many "vacations" do I want to have a year ("vacations" means times when I don't have class so I can focus on all the reading I was assigned and have to write papers about but haven't had time to read because of the classes themselves)? (8) Do I find anti-social and borderline-psychotic behavior on the part of my advisor and other significant faculty members "endearing"? (9) Would I consider 5-hours of shut-eye in a row a "full night's sleep"? (10) Who would I like to financially support me for the next 5 to 10 years, my wife? my parents? my children? my church? the Salvation Army? (11) Do I consider a cup of coffee hurriedly consumed over a stack of papers "breakfast"? A cup of coffee hurriedly consumed during a small group discussion "lunch"? A cup of coffee hurriedly consumed during a large lecture "dinner"? (12) When I come home at night, do I want the small children running around my house to ask their mother "Who's that?" (13) Do I like pets? Can I handle giving mine away to people that will properly care for them? (14) Do I chortle when someone asks, "What are you doing this weekend" as if the question is rhetorical? (15) Can I, in good conscience, manage to study and read and write startlingly insignificant arguments about startlingly insignificant topics constantly and for the rest of my life? (16) Is there any other career option for me that would provide for my family with less danger to my own life and limb--like say professional cliff diving or underwater welding? (17) Would I like having the sum total of my life's labor, my blood, sweat, and tears preserved for centuries in a definitive treatise for generations after my death to read and enjoy? (18) Would I be terribly disappointed if the only copy of that book ended up in the sub-basement of a community college in Albania where it would never, ever, ever be checked out or even noticed?


Blogger John McCollum said...

Damn. I guess I shouldn't apply for grad school.

But it take all kinds, don't it?

11/03/2005 12:51 AM  
Blogger Seth said...

Hey Erik, this has universal application so it looks like you really just beat me to the punch. :)

I perfer to think that for someone who is dying to be a scholar, if you think being and becoming one is bad just ponder the alternative.

With all the obscene crap I put up with every day, on top of a 50+ hour work week tacked with 45 minute comute one way, making right around $30k+ a year can bite my freaking ass.

Given the choice between hell and purgatory I'll take my chances with the latter... :)

11/03/2005 11:34 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

is this for fun or is there genuine disconcert in your self-assessment?

11/03/2005 12:19 PM  
Blogger e said...

To allay fears, this is tongue-in-cheek. But so close to the truth that I fear to really take a close look at what I wrote....
This isn't to say that I'm disgruntled. Just trying to be realistic about the glorifying of the "academic life" that gets done. I actually heard one candidate say that they were excited to get out of the "real" world and back into school because they'd have more free time.

If they do get accepted to a program on that line, they're in for a rude awakening--or a swift kick in the intellectual behind.

11/03/2005 12:24 PM  

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