Read Dr. Crazy’s take on making sensible choices rather than letting life just “happen” to you:

As I look at my students, I often think I’d have been better off to let my life “happen” to me. Why? Because you can get an education at any time. You can get an education after you have your 11 kids, you can get an education after your divorce, you can get an education after you have a parent die. You can choose education, whatever you’ve done before. By choosing education first, it means I’ve not chosen other things. And it means that it makes those other things harder. And that is a rude fucking awakening.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate in life (I’m so happy now!), although there were certainly rough patches. Today people are often startled to hear I have an eleven-year-old daughter (no, I wasn’t a baby, I turned 25 the year she was born, and she was planned and much desired), but really, I think she fit into my life-career schedule just perfectly.

I’ve always found my mother’s career-path inspiring. She did a PhD in the seventies, but, well, I suppose actually part of the problem was that the jobs weren’t where we were. But when my sister and I were 10 or 12 or so, she retrained – starting from high school level physics, which girls couldn’t take in her day – all the way up to an engineering degree and working on an MA in physics. She’s been enjoying her career in engineering ever since. Several of her friends have done similar career reversals. I really like to know that if I ever get sick of blogs and/or academia, I could always become an engineer – or a pilot, or an architect, or anything really. Would only take a few years’ studying.

4 thoughts on “making choices

  1. […] I don’t know if I have it in me to go through so many moves for so long, and this is really putting a damper on my excitement about job announcements this year. But… I’d like to think I’ll have Jill Walker’s attitude if it comes down to it: I may be facing a similar kind of choice as her mother made, leaving behind many of the things I trained for in getting a Ph.D. […]

  2. Norman Hanscombe

    I can speak only for Australian conditions, but being born in 1935 meant I lived through the beginning of an era in which opportunities of all kinds have increased dramatically. I was conscious of how much easier it was for people from all backgrounds [and both sexes] to obtain a better education, for example, than had ever been the case before.

    The only problem is our “needs” have continued to increase at even faster rates than everything else, meaning levels of dissatisfaction are significantly higher than was the case in the past. Still, grumbling gives us all a goal in life. Including, I guess, me grumbling about grumbling?

  3. […] Lately I’ve been thinking again about some of Jill Walker’s, Clancy Ratliff’s and Dr. Crazy’s posts about academia and the choices it forces people to make, written in the fall. I’ve been ambivalent about academia for a long time. I love ideas, I love to do research, to write and teach, and I don’t much mind committee work either. It’s all part of being a member of a particular kind of community, which one tries to be when working… anywhere. […]

  4. […] Lately I’ve been thinking again about some of Jill Walker’s, Clancy Ratliff’s and Dr. Crazy’s posts about academia and the choices it forces people to make, written in the fall. I’ve been ambivalent about academia for a long time. I love ideas, I love to do research, to write and teach, and I don’t much mind committee work either. It’s all part of being a member of a particular kind of community, which one tries to be when working… anywhere. […]

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