Post Academic

The First Hundred Days of Post Academic

Posted in Housekeeping by postacademic on June 7, 2010
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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!