and that’s why I want that PhD

This week, I had a magical experience. I went up to Germany to give a talk at this PhD program I’ve had my eye on for the last year, and as soon as the questions started coming, I realized this was no ordinary talk. I realized I was surrounded by people that were like me – people interested in the same things that I am, people that see the worth in cultural studies and aren’t afraid of ambition, people that got as excited about my proposal to write a dissertation on Mormons as I am (I had so not expected that!), people that love education and learning. And it was wonderful. I had a smile on my face the entire afternoon. (Of course, the wonderful sunny weather might have helped with that, as well.)

And that experience told me that I am on the right track, that the three or four years I’ll spend in grad school poverty is worth it. It’s worth all the time I’ll spend traveling, working, revising, being stressed out. It’s worth it just to spend time in classrooms and behind computers with people like that, people like me.

You cannot believe how much I'm looking forward to that office without windows. (copyright Jorge Cham)

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