My iBooks Collection

My iBooks Collection
My iBooks Collection: Some of my favorite books!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Academic Career

Not until it slowly dawned unto me that I have finally landed a job in my university, that I knew my calling was going to be an academic.

Now I know why I have been feeling all confused for the past years because I never want to teach full time, and yet I wanna work in a university and I want to pursue research like what we did in my undergraduate years.

Anyway... Nobody at a young age aspires to be an academic. It's just NOT in the list of cool jobs kids are aware of or exposed to. They see a writer, an actor, a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, a businessman, a singer, a ballet dancer... But not an academic. Yes, there is the teacher... But being an academic is different. It's can be more than just a teacher. And that is actually what I want to be... More than just a teacher. I want to teach maybe someday, but it's not my only goal. 

I read a tweet a couple of weeks ago which I can totally relate with: Being an academic means accepting the fact that your family and friends do not understand nor have interest in what you do.

It was so funny (as an aspiring academic, my sense of humor has also changed).

When people ask what my major in college was: educational psychology. I don't bother wasting my time explaining what it is. 

To make things simple. I let them believe what they think it is. "Ahh so you want to be a teacher."


Close enough.

During my group study with my graduate school classmates, they told me I was lucky because I wasn't working yet and I could focus on studying for the exam. (Told them lucky if you put it that way, but unlucky in financial sector). One of my classmates told me I should venture into teaching because that's when I can actually feel if the things we are studying are feasible or not. Our program was Master of Arts in Learning & Teaching. I told her.. "I will teach eventually... But not now. Teaching isn't really my goal. I want to teach because I am an expert on something and not because teaching is the only job I could do. Besides, I don't know what to teach, the classes I want to teach does not exist here yet."

She still couldn't get my point and I told her that my undergraduate degree is Educational Psychology and that it's so vague. Luckily, one of my grad classmates was also a graduate of Educational Psychology and she helped me explain.  

For the past days while reading the 288 page book of Weimer on Learner-Centered Teaching, I took couple of minutes aside to research about life as an academic. There are certain issues especially about the "two-body" problem especially referring to a relationship where one is an academic and the other is not. not understand. 

I read about a blog post of a husband and his struggles about his wife being the academic.

He met her during highschool and it was funny how he wrote it. He said "I did not know she wanted a career out of being smart.... How was I suppose to know she wanted to go pro?"

That's a good way to put it probably, a career out of being smart.

I could never find my forte before... All I know is that my friends said I was really diligent, hard working and a workaholic. I wasn't the smartest one when I was in elementary or high school. I was a regular kid and also MOST of the time... The noisiest student and part of the group which disrupts class. But I had good grades without sacrificing my childhood so much with the pressure of being on the top. 

In college, I had good grades too. And also involved myself with a lot of school activities. I graduated with an academic award, and also... Still enjoyed my college life surrounding myself with social activities that's typical of a college student during my time. We would hang out and drink our way towards graduation. But, I also was very conscious of my academic performance.

My ex boyfriend said, that I was smart.

But what does smart being mean?

I couldn't say I'm street smart, I'm so dumb at remembering directions. I absolutely have no sense of direction. I also don't want to go through Garner's Multiple Intelligences because it would make my blog post too.. well... academic (irony intended).

I just simply enjoy the sheer pleasure of learning.

Whether by books, by experiences, by traveling, or by listening to a friend's problems and helping her realize the lessons in life. 

That is probably why being an academic is the right career path for me. 
Learning is my passion. Whether formal or informal, intentional or unintentional. 

Anyway as I read through google searches of being an academic... Popular posts come up regarding the struggle of being in a relationship with one. I remember my ex-boyfriend. We were together for 4 and a half years. At some point, he went abroad to work and for the rest of our relationship it was long distance. We had plans to get married, and he wanted to have a family already. But deep inside I was struggling. I was still computing my estimated year of graduation and include the fact that, as I was nearing to finish my M.A., my thoughts were playing around on pursuing PhD. Distance makes the heart go fonder. But only in the beginning. Eventually we grew apart. But there were no regrets. I do not blame my choice to follow my passion because eventually, I knew our relationship won't work out. My dreams and aspirations had contradicted his. I know I will not be happy if I gave this up. I have, in fact ... Already delayed it a couple of times in order to see him. That was enough the sacrifice.

Other posts from a life of being an academic, I read about working hours and being paid with stipends. This isn't a typical graduate student here in the Philippines because usually, graduate students have full-time jobs in the day and become students at night. But I can totally relate with the western situation of graduate students because with my M.A. experience I have experienced being "unemployed" and experienced working under apprenticeships and being paid stipends - best of it all, I treated it as a wonderful opportunity - things which outsiders, would not understand. 

PhD comics totally helped me through that. 

But all those struggle was worth it. After jumping in various employments and experiencing different roles since I've graduated undergrad, I have found myself in the same place where my "future" began.

Back to my university.

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