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Friday morning ball-of-angst

hello, my blog-reading friends!
I hope this sunny morning finds you well. I woke up in a relaxed manner… but it all went downhill from there. Here’s why: I made the mistake of reading my HOROSCOPE! Yes, that’s right. I am feeling stressed out right now thanks to a tiny blurb in the Globe and Mail based on how the stars might, very generally, affect my fate.

I am a leo, so here’s what I got today:

LEO (July 24 – Aug. 23):

Sit back, close your eyes and imagine where you would most like to be and what you would most like to be doing by this time next year. Do you have what it takes to make it happen? Yes you do, so start on it now.

(want yours? find it here)

AHRRRRRRRG! What the poor old horoscope writer person doesn’t know is that she just put her finger on a very sensitive spot: the question of WHAT TO DO NEXT.

Now in the second year of my Master’s degree, it’s a question that is starting to come up a lot these days. “So, are you applying for a PhD?” is a question I get a lot. “No? Hmm. So what are you going to do?”

It’s frightening. I have just spent too much time desperately clicking through various PhD programs here and in the U.S in a panicked oh-my-god, should-I-be-doing-a-PhD-if-so-where-and-what-will-I-do-it-in frenzy. Not hugely productive.

Unlike people doing degrees in things that lead to jobs, I am doing a degree in Cultural Studies, which is just a nice way of saying, “you’re interesting. Too bad we have no idea what to do with you.”

It’s interesting, too, to look ahead and realize that at this time next year, I don’t even know where I’ll be living… or really, what I will be doing.

I am resistant to the idea of applying for a PhD just for the heck of it — that seems silly (that said, it’s how I ended up here… so maybe there is something to it?)

Regular blog readers will know that I went through a phase where I was being all at peace with the idea of not knowing.. at just trusting that somehow the universe and I would get it sorted out, and I’d find meaningful work and some kind of path to follow til I figure out what it is that I’m supposed to be doing. Well, let’s be honest: that’s a pretty passive way to live your life, right?

There are opportunities out there, and many of them have fixed deadlines (hello, funding?) — they’re all just out there waiting to be taken advantage of, right?

(what to do, what to do! Anyone else in this situation? I’ll take advice in whatever shape I can get it in these days…)

Posted in SGS Blog 2010-2011, Student Perspective
3 comments on “Friday morning ball-of-angst
  1. Vee says:

    Fortunately my horoscope today informs me that I don’t have to struggle for success–I can charm my way to the top. What a relief.

    I’m just finishing my PhD now, and it’s been a long, hard slog. Completing a PhD in the humanities takes a long while, and, as you are no doubt aware, the job market for new PhDs sucks right now and I think will continue to do so. This is not to dissuade you from doing a PhD, but if you don’t know what exactly you want to do it in I would be cautious. Doing a PhD and wanting to be an academic nowadays is more and more like wanting to be a professional musician or artist: you need talent, hard work, AND luck in order to make a comfortable living at it. If your passionate engagement with your research doesn’t sustain you in the course of your degree and beyond, what will? Do it only if you truly love it and are willing and able to make considerable sacrifices.

  2. Amy says:

    Doing a PhD unfortunately does not get rid of the “what am I supposed to do with my life” question – it only delays it by 7 years. Why not do this instead (which is what I did after completing the 7 year delay): write down your ideal job description, by brainstorming the kinds of activities you would be doing in an ideal work day. What would you be doing? Writing? Talking to people? Sitting? Moving around? Making movies? Dancing? Would you be working alone or with other people? Would you be focused on one topic or on many different topics? What is the mix of activities that will keep you happy and focused? This kind of exercise was helpful to me in clarifying that an academic career was not the right place for me, because the work is too isolated for my collaborative self. Maybe it will help you rule some stuff in/or out?

  3. Fiona says:

    People don’t know how annoying those constant questions are. Even people who should know better ie. other students, constantly ask them. Saying “I’m going to look for a job” isn’t enough, they want to know exactly where and at what you will be working, as if there was anyway you would know that a year in advance. And don’t people know “how is your thesis coming?” is not small talk, it is a taboo phrase?

    I know they often say this because they don’t know themselves and are looking for inspiration.

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