Before I decided to get a PhD, I was looking at EdD programs and interviewing for the top IT position at a local community college.  I made it to the final 3 and was invited to speak on campus and meet with all the top administrators.  I was perfectly happy to take an administrative path, get an EdD and settle in for the long haul.

I didn’t get it.  I cried.  A lot.  In a way, it broke me from climbing the career ladder.  I rethought my future and decided to get a PhD. 

Fast forward to yesterday, not 3 years after getting rejected for that job.  The guy they hired has ALREADY LEFT for another school and the position is open again.

I am remarkably bitter and  upset about this, and really there’s no reason to be.  But I can’t help but be reminded of how different my life would be right now if they had chosen me instead of him.

And how much more sure of myself I would be.  I’ve been in a real crisis lately; I just don’t feel like I can ever think the way the academics around me seem to think.

  • I can’t come up with a dissertation topic. 
    • Or rather, I come up with lots of them but none are the “starter dough” I’m supposed to be putting together.
    • Most of the ideas require learning a completely new literature, which seems like more work than I have in me right now
    • The literature I DO know appears to be in a no-longer-hot area; certainly not one that attracts grant money
  • I can’t for the life of me imagine what I’ll teach when I get that far.  Granted, I’ve had horrible role-models: Chair teaches research methods in the EdD program (I could do that, I suppose) and I will graduate from a policy program having never taken a class that directly addressed policy in any way.  Maybe that’s part of the problem; I have no idea what is SUPPOSED to be taught in this type of program.
  • I am just feeling burnt out on this whole process.  I’m sure that is, in part, due to working full time and not being able to START looking at this stuff until 8 or 9pm most nights, but I’m just tired.

In contrast, had I gotten that job I would probably be working 40-50 hour weeks, but on a campus, doing something I’m good at and enjoy and KNOW, and maybe teaching as an adjunct in that area for fun and profit.  I would probably be done with an EdD by now because the school I would have gone to is easier and the bar for dissertations is lower. 

Instead I sit here questioning every decision I’ve made since the rejection and feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. 

I miss going to work, working, coming home and having time for a hobby.  I want to cook again, take cooking classes, do something crafty, work on decorating my house, learn to tile so that I can redo our bathroom, see my friends.

Instead I am currently trying to shoehorn going to the gym back into my schedule, which further reduces the time available to do anything.  I spend 12-14 hours a day one weekends at my desk trying to keep my head above water.  And I still don’t feel like I belong or have what it takes to make it as an academic. 

Right now I feel like I’ve made a terrible mistake….