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robertogreco : selfeducation   1

Why I didn’t go to grad school the second time. | Ordinary Times
""And then I experienced a moment of clarity. Within my head I heard a dialog with two distinct voices:

“What are you going to do after you finish your Ph.D? Do you want to teach?” said the calm voice.

“Maybe. I don’t know,” said the angry voice.

“Well what do you know you want to do after you get your doctorate?”

“After I get my doctorate I want to build a big boat.”

“Will getting your doctorate help you on your way to building your boat?”

“It might. If I get my Ph.D I might be able to sell more DVDs or a book and get more money.”

“Do you need to get more money to build your boat?”

“No.”

“Is there some reason you can’t start building your boat right now?”

“No.”

“Then why do you want to get a Ph.D?”

“Because I want to show them.”

“Show them what? What do you want to show them?”

“I want to show them that I’m right and they’re wrong.”

And just like that, I stopped think about going back to school and started thinking about what I needed to do to build my boat.

And then I built Mon Tiki.



Who are them? Who knows. My parents? Teachers? The bloggers who would delete my trenchant comments instead of responding to them? All of them? Does it matter? Probably not.

I don’t know what the good reasons are for going to grad school, but I’m pretty sure “to show them” isn’t one of them; not for me at least, not where I am in my life. There are more interesting and important things for me to do.

That doesn’t mean I’m completely over it.

My USCG Master Captain’s license and Mon Tiki’s CIO are only meaningful certifications I’ve ever received, and I’ve got to tell you, after a lifetime of being an uncredentialled outsider, it’s nice to be on the inside of something, to have a stamp from Authority that says “QUALIFIED”, and I still think it would be nice to get my creative work similarly endorsed.

In fact, just a few weeks ago I applied for an internship with a Brand Name media company. The pay was ridiculously low, less even than what I paid my unskilled laborers on Mon Tiki. But I wasn’t doing it for the money (which is not to say we couldn’t use the money. Building Mon Tiki has left us drained.) But more than the money, I thought it would be nice to have my writing appear under the aegis of a Brand Name media company. I thought would be nice, just for once, to be a part of an organization. I thought it would be nice, just for once, to not have to explain Who I Am as a preamble to what I think.

So just like when I thought I needed to wrap my films in a Ph.D, I asked some important people I know to sign on as references. And they did and wished me good luck. Affirmation!

And unlike the Ph.D thing, I didn’t bail. I went after the job full tilt, all in, do or die. Interview and everything.

And you know what happened?

They didn’t hire me.

They said that the spirit of the internship was educational, and that giving a 47 year-old man with an established career (albeit in another field) would be taking away from a younger person who could really use the break.

Whether that was a dodge because I wasn’t the best candidate, or their were concerns about my age, or it was the simple truth I don’t know. I have no reason to think it wasn’t, but whatever. That’s not the point.

The point, if I have one, is that if you’re considering going to grad school, or your considering writing for free, or your considering taking an internship at a Brand Name media company, or your considering building a big boat, you probably have more agency than you realize. You will probably do okay if your priorities doing what you want to do, if you can actually manage to figure out what that is. This might not be easy, but I think it’s easier than the other options."
education  davidryan  via:kio  learning  doing  glvo  edg  srg  gradschool  unschooling  deschooling  autodidacts  credentials  academia  making  2013  selfeducation 
january 2014 by robertogreco

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