10:11 a.m. - December 16, 2003
Going to a Christmas party tonight at my advisor's house. I'm looking forward to seeing most of my dissertation committee members there as well as colleagues from the program. Instead of saying I've spent the time since I left the program engaged in some honorable or academic pursuit like solving the mystery of stand-alone languages such as Basque or restoring rhino habitat, I'm limited to saying, I've been working.
In truth, I am excited to return to school. In more truth, I am not as keen on cognitive science and linguistics anymore. What appeals is literature and languages - Japanese, Arabic, Navajo - and the Ph.D. goal doesn't burn as hot as it once did, though I'm careful to note I am not ambivalent. I don't sound convincing, do I? I've taught high school, community college, and university; published one book with two more coming this summer, and the contract stipulates four more in the next four years. I've published articles and the occasional poem. Of everything I've done since completing the undergraduate degrees, I am most content and proud of teaching high school. I loved every minute of it, except when I'd hobnob with the academe and would feel second-best. Just because I'm capable of the Ph.D. doesn't mean I have to have it, simply to buffer my own self esteem. There was a time when I thought I could do everything - teach high school, work on the Ph.D., work in the lab, write articles, maintain a healthy relationship, find time to go camping on the weekends and All Was Well. What happened?
But I'm here now amidst this familiar landscape and classes begin in a few weeks. Rather quickly I'll be ABD and then there's a new fork in the road, a new line in the CV. Maybe then I'll be in a better place.