Happy Birthday to Us!
Today is a big milestone day for us: This post is our 500th and it marks the one-year anniversary of Post Academic’s launch. Thanks to all who’ve found their way here, especially the cohort of likeminded bloggers who made us feel as if we weren’t crazy, bitter, and alone. Not to get mushy on you, but it’s really helped knowing the likes of Worst Prof, Eliza Woolf, Adventures in Gradland, Sell Out Your Soul, among others, are doing their thing–it’s helped to give us a sense of purpose above and beyond our own individual concerns and complaints.
When Caroline and I started Post Academic, I was mulling over becoming, well, post academic. It just so happened that Caroline was interested in developing her own blog on job tips and etiquette, at the same time I had started thinking about compiling my futile attempts on the academic job market. My reasons were two-fold: the first was practical–to learn how to blog and the basics of blog maintenance–and the second was more personal–to work through another year of disappointment on the market. At some point, I figured I had to make a decision as to what to do about my so-called academic career: I could always find enough excuses and reasons to hang on and keep trying, to go through the same thing over and over again, year after year. But you know what, I got sick of it, so I wanted to channel my energies elsewhere, which was my contribution to in conceiving of Post Academic.
To be honest with you, I’m not sure I would’ve ever done it–write about being post academic (or at least ambivalent academic), that is–if Caroline hadn’t shot off our first entry on UNLV’s football team and the school’s budget woes. But once Post Academic became real and I realized I needed to keep up my end of the bargain, things took off. Hey, checking site stats beats scanning the Academic Jobs Wiki obsessively any day! Getting back into the habit of writing regularly did wonders for me, and it was just the act of writing and writing (good or bad) that helped me get out of my academia-induced rut, even more than the semi-soul searching of the posts themselves. Maybe it wasn’t all the blog’s doing, but, post-Post Academic, we both started fulfilling jobs that made use of our skills, I got back into freelance music writing, and I’ve been unburdened of the doubt, expectations, and unfulfilled potential of all those years spent on my Ph.D.
Through it all–collaborating on opposite ends of the continent, family life, childcare, a new baby, job interviews, new work schedules, business trips, vacations, holidays, illnesses, whatever else–we posted every single day until pretty much Christmas time. But upon our one-year birthday, we’ve decided that we’re scaling back the schedule for Post Academic, as much because we need a break from the routine as we find ourselves in very different places from where we began, when it comes to the blog’s reason for being. For me, it’s just that I don’t define my identity in relation to being an academic, post- or otherwise, any more. In that respect (and many more), Caroline was a perfect partner-in-crime in this endeavor: She was a role model for me, since she had successfully navigated her way from the college campus to the hamster world long before I ever thought of it, with all the spirit and good energy that anyone who knows her can’t help but be uplifted by.
This isn’t goodbye–we’ll still be around to post, though somewhat irregularly, when we’ve got something to write about and postacademic.org will be around as a resource (if you can call it that) or a time capsule or an out-of-date journal we’ll be cringing about in a few years. And besides, who else is gonna keep up with James Franco’s grad school progress, anyway?