I woke up yesterday in a gorgeous room on the top floor of the La Fonda in magical Santa Fe, New Mexico. This morning, it was back in my bed, with cats warming my feet. It was a long day on the road. Considerably less talking. Neither one of us wanted to leave.

The trip out was fun, it always is isn’t it?

The conference was interesting. I sat in on some good panels. I saw my friend present his paper. The more I was exposed to the conference/academic life…the less I loved it. I gave my paper and while I do think it was fine, I don’t think the content was up to par with my other panelists. I don’t think my paper was as academically advanced as the others. I didn’t use “discursive practice” or “ideology” enough in my paper.

I sat in on a panel about finding work with your upper level degree outside of the classroom. Administration. Museums. Entertainment. Non-profit organizations. That was interesting. Truly. Also, that the job market is so bloody and fierce…it’s good to have outside thoughts because teaching gigs are scarce.

I think the most interesting revelation was an internal one. The more I sat and listened and watched my surroundings, the more I thought, “I hate this part. I hate it. I have no interest in research and publishing and tenure tracking. I don’t care about this stuff. This part of the ph.d/professoring? Screw that. I know I’m supposed to care…but I don’t. Not. Even. A. Little. Bit.”

So the question then becomes what DO I care about?

I’ll let you know.

But I got one more under my belt. Another line on my CV. An opportunity for publication (though I really doubt my paper is worthy of publishing.) Done. Check. Done. Experience and lessons learned.

We headed to Santa Fe, via highway 14. Scenic byway. It was gorgeous. Gor.GEOUS.

I always had heard about how lovely it is there, so going for my first trip with Mark was something I was really excited about. Really. Excited. Plus we were going to listen to Peter Mulvey sing that night and what could be a better way to end our trip?

It was a fun night. No stress about school or conferencing. Just us. Our valentine night. Dinner and live music in the mountains. A stunning, charming, romantic room at the top of the hotel. Magic.

Charming room
Charming room

The next morning was good, we saw the magic staircase at the Loretto Chapel. I was going to shop a bit, buy some jewelry, or something but I just wasn’t feeling it. We were tired. We knew we had 8+ hours on the road staring us in the face. We knew we had to leave. We hit the Trader Joe’s and the REI on our way out of town which was fun. Stocked up on beer and wine, soup and brownie mix. Walked around the rail yard a bit but then it was time. Ugh.

The drive home was quiet and a touch cranky, but finally we pulled into my drive at 10 ish and got the car unloaded. Mark headed home and I loved on the cats and collapsed.

Today is for recovering and studying. I take my comps on Tuesday. I’ve got a plan of study. I’m going to cave myself in the house until then. This test is the thing that determines my graduation. So. Kind of a big damned deal. Wish me luck.

I’ll see you on the other side.

2 thoughts on “Return

  1. Even if it opens up a lot of tough questions, it is far better that you figure out now what you do NOT love. It would be worse to back yourself into a career that swirled around that part of academic life. It is a major reason I have never pursued a higher degree in English.

    Study hard. Test first, then you can see where the next step will be. Just study, but don’t fret.


  2. The publish or perish thing is the main reason I didn’t get my PhD. I didn’t want that. But I think I’m a pretty good example of using my degree to do something that makes me pretty darn happy. There are always options and you’re really good at being open. You’ll have no problem finding the right option for you.


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