Over the past several years Thomas H. Benton has been writing articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education in which he has attempted to disabuse students about the life of graduate school and the career that may (or may NOT) come after.
The first was “So You Want to Go to Grad School?”, published in 2003.
Last year he followed up with, “Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go,” a virtual manifesto against going to graduate school for any number of well-conceived reasons.
Benton (whose real name is William Pannapacker) is at it again. This time, he’s revealing another dirty little secret: “The Big Lie About the ‘Life of the Mind’”.
Not to take the suspense out of it for you, but the sum of the article seems to be represented in this paragraph:
Graduate school may be about the “disinterested pursuit of learning” for some privileged people. But for most of us, graduate school in the humanities is about the implicit promise of the life of a middle-class professional, about being respected, about not hating your job and wasting your life. That dream is long gone in academe for almost everyone entering it now.
I guess what I’m saying is: I know what you’re thinking: “If Kirk can get a full time, tenure-track job, I am so golden!” But it might not be that easy.
So, if you’ve decided to go on to a PhD program in humanities: Why did you decide to go to grad school? Did any of you specifically choose not to go this route? Did you enter with eyes wide open? Do you feel like you’re hosed? Feel free to comment under a pseudonym for this one.