Sunday, March 13, 2011

more of the same; or, after the crash

Last week, after receiving my rejection from UNR's doctorate program in English, I sort of half-jokingly asked for suggestions for how to "radically change my life" on my facebook page. The responses to my query (no offense to anyone who may have posted) were a surprise. For one thing, they weren't all that radical. Get a haircut. Change your diet (which I translated as "lose weight"). Get therapy. (Yikes.) Oh, and then there was the person who advised me to "get a doctorate" a bit of advice that was as ironic as it was unintentionally painful.

The advice was mainly about the kinds of things that no one really wants to be advised to do. Sort of like how I imagine those who find themselves on a makeover shows feels. In reality, I was really hoping for a lighter type of response. Become a roadie for Josh Groban. Only speak in proverbs. Begin referring to yourself in only the third person... you know, fun stuff. Instead, it became incredibly clear that folks genuinely thought that I needed to make some pretty solid life changes.

I am no stranger to change. I traffic in self-help and introspection. I am nietzchian in nature. I am constantly tearing and stripping down in order to rebuild. So much so that recently I have begun to think that perhaps I need to stop with the deconstruction and begin to build. Part of my reasoning for wanting to return to grad school was to finish what I had started. I rarely do that you see. So, a part of me thinks it is slightly hilarious that this time around applying to finish my PhD was one of the most mature decisions of my life; that I genuinely felt like I was on the right path for the first time in a long time. That decision is unfortunately one that is out of my hands.

As to my present, I have a job, and while it is part-time, it is still a job; so, I will continue working. I can apply to other PhD programs next year if I wanted to, or full-time community college jobs, or maybe another MA. Or, I could do something else. Right now the possibilities are a little overwhelming. Or, I could just get a cute haircut, and some therapy.


  1. I've found it's really hard to get the kinds of responses I am looking for when I post things of the sort of Facebook. I always thought it was because the people I am friends with are insensitive and not trying very hard, but that is probably unfair. Part of the problem here is I think most people responding are not as creative/clever as you are and couldn't think of something like "only speak in proverbs" (which made me grin).

    In any case, I hope that my responses weren't, you know, terrible -- I'm not that clever either-- and that whatever you choose to do is what you want (which sounds dumb, but what I mean is that I strongly suspect that the options you are considering are good ones and hope that you have an opportunity to choose something that delights you).

  2. Sorry about the PhD news. Unlike you, I don't have a job next year (yet), but here's to keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. Anni-- Actually, I loved your advice. My blog friends had the best ones. I think my reaction is really more a commentary about the type of community space that the internet creates. One of my friends has fertility issues and wrote on facebook about how sad she was that her "baby" was growing up. A facebook friend responded to her by telling her she should just have another baby. That person had NO idea how painful that comment was. Just as my facebook friend didn't know how painful it was when she advised that I "get a doctorate." It is such a shallow space in so many ways, and I forget that sometimes.

    Brandi--Good luck on your hunt. I am likely going to be applying for full time positions w/in the next year, so I am going to want to hear all about it!

  4. Kat, I'm still sorry about this. My suggestion was serious because I really do love your writing. I was wondering about some of the other responses, but I was figuring it was the medium. It seems that fb is where people discuss more superficial things? I was just thinking others didn't know what was going on when they made those suggestions?

    I wish I had more answers, but, as I might have said, I'm searching for those in my own life and I've never been much help in that department for others. I will be here to root you on though. Go, Ms Kat!

  5. I think you're probably right about the shallowness of Facebook, which is too bad really, since it's my primary means of contact for, well, everyone that I've known for longer than five years. I think a lot of it has to do with trying to mesh all the different parts of everyone's lives together, so that there's really no distinction between people that you know casually and people you are really close to, or people that share specific communities with you and people that you knew in X unrelated circumstances.

    Not all Internet communities are like that, though -- this is ONE type of space the Internet creates. Others are different (I write on the eight-year anniversary of the first day I spent with a pleasantly geeky boy from New Jersey who I'd happened to run across in a Tolkien-based chat room).

    (BTW, do I get a vote in whether you write a novel or not? I guess I shouldn't get one. But if I did, I'd vote yes ;) )

  6. Thanks V. I am disappointed too, but at least now I can let that go you know? I always held on to returning to UNR as a safety net. So, now it is off to other things.

    Anni-- Of course you get a vote! You always get a vote.

    I thought of you and your "pleasantly geeky boy" after I had written that comment about "internet spaces." I also have another friend who has fallen in love with a man she met online, so you are absolutely right. As usual, I was far to general and a tad hyperbolic!

    As to writing a novel, or a memoir, or something. I am thinking about it. I am not sure how one does that. But, I am thinking about it.