Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Academic Life Cycle

Here's a little blast from the past, to show you that I was weird and wacky and fond of bizarre metaphors (and apt to get myself in trouble in the department) long before I got myself a blog:

I had a quasi-admin gig at one point and made sure to abuse my powers (and my access to photoshop and dreamweaver). They let me run some workshops as long as I did all the stuff they wanted first, and --- surprise! --- I wanted workshops that would help me learn about the profession as a systematic structure, and how to survive in it.

Funny thing is, I got in major trouble for this poster --- one of the other grad students was very angry about it and gave me such shit. (I remember getting shouted at, or at least her getting way up in my face about it, in the hallway --- I don't do well with loud confrontations. We didn't mesh, personality-wise.) Anyway, she was incensed by the notion that we were spawns --- I am not just a number! I am not a frog! I remember her shouting. I didn't get it. Of course we are; recognizing this is the first step to changing it, or even surviving it. But then again, I'm perfectly ok with saying I'm a little cog in a big machine ---- rather than assert I am somehow special or unique, that I transcend or am separate from the machine, I'd rather take some steps to change the machine itself if it needs fixing. But I'm also very aware of the limits of my power to change things, even if I were to work collectively or collaboratively.

Anyway, like the teeny little mortarboard on the ABD frog? I feel like the tenured frog needs some sort of accessory too, but can't figure out what it would be.

I'm planning on working up some posts that link all my blatherings about certain topics, like grad school and the job search, in one central page list, but it's taking a lot longer than I had thought and so it will be a while before they go up. And someday, I may even write some new posts for the blog! Don't hold your collective amphibious breaths though --- I need to do my actual work too.


Anonymous said...

okay, that grad student who gave you shit about it really needs to get a clue. how ridiculous! i hope she got some good therapy.

hmmmm, tenured accessory. i remember the profs who got tenure at my M.A. institution got lapel pins, which i got in trouble for mocking. it seems trite, to me. congrats on tenure! here's a lapel pin. i mean, they give lapel pins to student athletes at banquets. not that they don't accomplish great things themselves, but i guess my point is that lapel pins seems like something one gets at a banquet rather than something one should get for tenure. so give the frog a lapel pin!

Bardiac said...

A stack of file folders of committee work.

The beginning tadpole gets a stack of papers to grade, and the beginning professor gets a research grant thingy?

Fretful Porpentine said...

Aww, what cute frogs! How could anyone possibly get angry at that?

Lucky Jane said...

Heh. Those frogs are darn cute. Thanks for my laugh of the day!

Seriously, though, it may just be the places where I've worked, but I've actually admired most of them. They seem to me to work hard and to have the best intentions for our students, as well as their junior colleagues, even if they've forgotten what it's like (indeed, conditions may have changed so much that "it" is no longer what it was). It's the administration whom I'd decorate with evil facial hair and a white cat to stroke.

Anyway, I associate tenure with committee work. I also agree with the stack of papers for the grad students. But all that paper would clutter your awesome graphic.

And that grad student who gave you a hard time: I know the type well. Good lord.

Lucky Jane said...

Oops. By "them" in the second paragraph I meant "senior colleagues," not frogs, which I am sure are fine individuals as well.

Meadow said...

I like the frogs cartoon. It's funny. Can't imagine why anyone would get upset. Here's another one:

'The juvenile sea squirt roams around searching for a rock to cling to and make its home for life. When it finds one, it doesn't need its brain any more, so it eats it. Rather like getting tenure.'