I enter every academic break with an ambitious to-do list. Usually this list involves the leisurely reading of material that piques my interest during the school year but can’t find a slot in my schedule. Unfortunately, this break has been a bit different. I take written comps Thursday and Friday, and will continue studying until then. Studying for comps is intimidating, since I don’t know if I’m studying the right material. “Don’t stress out about it,” everyone tells me. But I’m not afraid of failing, I just want to pass with “Distinction.” Let’s be honest here.
Also: I didn’t get the Orr Fellowship. That is, none of the companies I interviewed with offered me a position. Oh well. As much fun as it would be, I also realize it would require a bigger time commitment than a “normal” 40 hours-per-week job, and I’m not ready to give up that time. At this point, I’m 99% sure I want to eventually pursue graduate work somewhere in the humanities. I need to sort out whether I’d rather research something more artistic and literary (ie, Classics, and specifically poetry) or something more dialectical and “current” (ie, within the broad realm of philosophy, which includes both theology and political theory). I value both approaches to knowledge, but which one would I rather research? Which one is better for articulating my thoughts and inclinations? Which one would allow the kind of side research and popular writing I’d like to do? I need to read current publications within the fields, and I need to study more important works in both traditions. And then I need to get “caught up” in whatever field I decide.
So perhaps a job without commitments after I get home from work is best. However, I’m still shooting for the Indianapolis tech industry. I don’t think I’ll end up applying for any teacher corp programs like Notre Dame’s ACE. I withdrew from Teach for America because I couldn’t really explain why I wanted to do it. And though I can come up a more tangible answer with ACE, the drawback is the same. I would spend two years working my butt off, and though I would surely develop personally, I don’t think I would be any closer to answering my previously highlighted question. With a master’s program, grad school altogether will require at least 6 years, and I need to get started ASAP, unless I want to be bouncing around in visiting professor positions when I’m 35. I really wish I could spend my life gaining new, powerful experiences, like traveling in Africa, starting a business, working in politics, teaching, etc…but I have a career to build. Apparently.