I’ve made terrible mistakes.
The first, I’m pretty sure was goofing off with my best friend in any STEM-related classes in high school. The second was changing my planned major in undergrad from music to, of all alternatives, English and history because my dad convinced me that I’d never have any job security or steady income as a professional flutist. Hah, showed him. My last mistake–and this one was killer–was not marrying rich. But hey, my childhood sweetheart sure-as-hell got lucky.
He knows it too.
I am currently a fifth-year PhD candidate, earning my degree in history (with a focus in late medieval/early Renaissance Europe; specifically, fourteenth-century Italy). I graduated from undergrad with dual degrees in 2010, finished my Master’s in 2012, and went ABD in 2013. Productivity since has come to a screeching, grinding halt with all the violence of a NASCAR racer hitting the guardrail.
I currently work as a full-time college instructor in the history department of a nearby public university, while I trudge through my dissertation. Budget cuts in recent years have hit us hard; there’s no hope for tenure-track in sight; and I have to satisfy myself with a lot of cheap wine and the golden mantra “I work for health insurance, not a paycheck.”
This blog is dedicated to sharing my experiences in academia and balancing the stress of research agonies, under-paid/under-valued work, and the things we have to do to stay happy.
As a young faculty member still finishing my PhD, I am well connected to the vodka-therapy, Ramen-diet, and other woes of higher ed’s overreliance on adjunct instructors. I usually teach around 275 students each semester in my five-class courseload, many of whom are first-generation college students and most of whom lack an innate appreciation for history. My self-appointed task and my grim responsibility (I’m a lot like Batman) is to show them why history matters. That task is also why I drink a lot.
I write historical adventure and urban fantasy fiction on the side to keep myself from falling too deep into the pit of Western Civ exams and medieval Latin records on my desk. Usually in the ten minutes it takes for me to find my lecture notes and drag myself downstairs to the classroom, I entertain the dream of submitting my work to literary agents and adoring fans, who will crowd-surf me away from my dissertation committee forever. The dream usually fades when I start calling roll for my college freshmen.
In addition to being heavily involved in extracurricular committees, I edit and resume-doctor as a side gig. The husband, J, and I are remodeling our home ourselves, including all the framing, wiring, and the TLC of repainting and chasing feral cats from the holes in our soffit and fascia. I save every spare penny for traveling on the cheap, and if/when my academic career fails, I feel like I have a stellar future working for a travel agency. Or living like Tom Hanks in an airport a la The Terminal. It could go either way.