Post Academic


The First Hundred Days of Post Academic

Posted in Housekeeping by postacademic on June 7, 2010
Tags: ,

Post Academic is marking our first hundred days with a self-congratulatory commemorative post, which mostly involves us delving into teary-eyed reminiscences and recapping some of our favorite and most popular items.  So please indulge us a little bit today, since it’s kind of a milestone for us–we’ve posted every single day and, more often than not, the both of us!  Of course, we’d like to thank anyone who has happened upon the blog for helping us get this far, whether you’re a loyal repeat customer or Facebook fan or random browser.  Hat tips, too, to everyone who has linked to Post Academic, from Twitter followers to kindred blogs to Inside Higher Ed to even MLA higher-ups.

Caroline Says…When Arnold and I started this blog 100 days ago, I was worried most of the content would be bleak. News of the crappiest job market ever, underpaid adjuncts, and rude search committees made me wonder what went wrong with the academic system.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the academy as a whole is becoming more pragmatic, even considering altering the dissertation process. The academy has a stodgy rep in the Hamster World, but the truth is that the economy has prompted professors, grad students and undergraduates to ask tough questions and search for answers. We’re learning that you can get a PhD or an MA and do something other than teaching, we’re proving that there is value in a liberal arts education and we’re learning how to take charge of our careers. In the long run, this experience may reinvigorate the academy.

Then again, I’m just a Hamster talking. So, whenever the ivory tower gets you down, remember that James Franco is hanging out in there … somewhere.

Arnold Says…Without Caroline taking the initiative to set up Post Academic after we sent a few daydreaming emails about starting a blog, there wouldn’t have been a Day 1, much less a Day 100.  Beyond being a forum that has enabled us to write and a platform to test out our mad-scientist online publishing schemes, Post Academic has been a great experience for us as an opportunity to think about and work through the obstacles–mental and structural–of being an academic, whether you’re fully entrenched in academia, marginally attached to it, or looking for a way out.  The blog has given us a chance to be practical, silly, wistful, mad, and really mad.  It has also given us a chance to be topical and to participate in professional discussions that we never had before.

Lest I get too mushy going down memory land, here’s a list of milestones and faves over the first hundred days:

1st post: “Raising Funds for the Post Academic Life”

1st post that made us realize people were reading the thing: “5 Annoying Personalities You Will Meet in Grad School Programs, and How to Cope with Them”

Most popular post: “Interview with Adam Ruben, Author of Surviving Your Stupid Stupid Decision to Go to Graduate School

Most cathartic post (for Arnold, at least): “Academia, I wish I knew how to quit you!”

The post that helped me figure out that my predicament is just tiny, tiny part of the larger scheme of crappiness: “Academic job salaries: ‘Worst Salary Year’ meets ‘Worst. Job Market. Ever.'”

My favorite piece of practical advice: “Tips to Squelch Ivory Tower and Grad School Gossip”–hey, the principles apply outside of academia too!

This retrospective is also an opportunity to take stock in what the blog is doing and to ask you, our fabulous readers, what you’d like to see on Post Academic.  Drop us a line at our email address (see the right column) or offer your suggestions in the comments section.  It would be great to know who’s visiting the site as well as what we can do to give you more reasons to read and us more reasons to write!  Thanks!

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3 Responses to 'The First Hundred Days of Post Academic'

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  1. SH said,

    I’ve been following your blog almost since the beginning. I especially like the content on surviving grad school, and on public perceptions of grad school (and academics). I also love the posts on the state of the job market in general. In terms of suggestions for future content, I’m always interested in reading posts on writer’s block, keeping one’s identity in perspective, dealing with one-upmanship and academic competition, overcoming the shame of taking a long time in graduate school, recovering the passion that led you to apply to grad school in the first place, and networking without feeling inauthentic and disingenuous. By the way, I notice that you don’t list Phinished.org as a resource — it might be a good one to add to the list. Thanks for doing this blog; I find it amusing and informative!

    • Arnold Pan said,

      SH–Thanks for the kind message and we’re really pleased that you’ve been a frequent reader of the blog! The idea about writer’s block is a great one, particularly since summer is the time that academics try to catch up on writing–whether it’s a long-overdue diss chapter or a procrastinated publication. We’ll get on that topic soon!

      Your ideas about the more personal side of being an academic are good ones too, and topics we’ll try to cover soon as well. Maybe a whole series of posts on writing the diss and the end of grad school process are in order! Some of the job market self-loathing posts–and I’m sure I’ve got more than a few–we’ll save in reserve for when the job market kicks back up in the fall.

      I had checked out Phinished.org before, but I dropped the ball on writing about it once I got started on other things. It definitely seems like a valuable resource.

      Thanks again for the kind, kind words and for helping us brainstorm!

      Arnold


  2. Yes, thank you so much! I hadn’t seen Phinished yet, and I phinally checked it out. (Don’t know how I missed it, actually–I love the “Hall of Phame” pun! Okay, I need to stop with the ph puns.)

    And thank you for your ideas. They might motivate me to write more about networking, precisely because I’m so bad at it. I’m always worried that I’m being a faker when I attempt to network, which makes me ever so grateful for LinkedIn.


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