Sorry for the month-long absence and the lack of responses to all of your comments! I have come to a decision of sorts in the meantime about this whole ph.d. thing.
I’m staying…for now.
I’m not doing so out of some kind of naive sense that things will be different for ME on the job market in the future, or that somehow the market will dramatically transform itself, the baby boomers will all retire en masse and I’ll be assured a job. I’m staying for a number of reasons:
1) I’ve always been told to make a decision when you’re ready to, OR when it is absolutely necessary. Neither of these conditions were wholly met with this situation, so right now, I’m staying the course.
2) My ambivalence over a ph.d., I’ve realized, is less about getting a ph.d. in and of itself, and is more directly related to this program in which I find myself. At the risk of outing myself, or making anyone from my institution who might read this blog indignant I’ll say this: I realized too late that this program is regressive in its outlook on English as a field. I am interested in studying Jewish and Arabic diasporic representations of place/space/home. There is literally no real way for me to do this here, despite the department’s protestations to the contrary. I’m trying to figure out a way to make it work, but oy…it might not be possible.
3) My ambivalence re: the program also involves ambivalence toward some of my fellow students. I left a ph.d. program in history where my colleagues were generally younger than me, were often silly, but were also seriously invested in their scholarship. Here, it feels altogether different. Sometimes I think I’ve woken up in a sorority/frat house. I don’t consider myself to be an old fuddy duddy (I’m only turning 33 in September for goodness sakes), but apparently, I am, in fact, an old fuddy duddy (but at least fuddy duddy is fun to say). Pretty soon I’ll be telling incoming students: “Back in my day…”
4) That said, I’m taking advantage of my fellowship and my space in academia to experiment and explore. I might be transferring to another program (in geography). I might discover a way to bend people to my will (that could be handy). In the meantime, I’m fully funded, and Apparent Dip has a job. Financially, it makes sense to stay.
5) The other options: library school, teaching comp for a year, etc., are still viable. They aren’t going anywhere.
6) I need to discover if I’m running away from a challenge (as in the history ph.d. which I now wish I had not run from) or if I’m just bored with the program I’m in. Only time (and patience, which I most emphatically DO NOT HAVE) will tell.
So there you have it. We’ll see how things progress. In the mean time, here’s a cute cat picture to lighten this post!