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Life with Lavendar in London town

Monday, 8 March 2010

Academia or Bust?

I'm trying to decide at the moment whether academic life is the way forward. I have an offer to take up postgraduate study in the UK in a subject area so niche that nowhere else in the world offers it. Does this mean it's a shit subject? Or so cutting edge that everyone else has yet to catch up? And even they offer it, is the uni in question any good at delivering it? The sceptic in me decided to undergo my own research before I handed over my dosh and committed myself to a scholar's life a.k.a. as, poverty.

Stepping onto campus resulted in some vivid flashbacks. Walking past the uni tavern, my tastebuds suddenly craved nachos and cheap beers (UWA). The student union office flashed like a homing beacon; sending out purple t-shirted flares to snare me back in to the mothership (Murdoch). Memories flooded back in a deluge so thick that for a few (lovely) minutes, I thought I was in my early twenties again running around campus, loving student life.

Oh why did I ever leave?, I bemoaned as Memories played on full volume inside my head.

I remember why. Earn Money. Travel. And I had poohed-poohed the idea of being trapped in the ivory tower and not experiencing "the real world."

Well I have been out working in the supposed real world for awhile now and it ain't so great. At uni you are exposed to (well I was in my arts degree) the ideas and thoughts of key thinkers. It's a shock to come out and find that the day-to-day world is run by mostly idiots. And that if you had a brain in the first place, best turn it off so you can swallow up all the middle-management banality or avaristic policies without wanting to kill yourself. Success in the "real world" is about how much ass you kiss, how you navigate yourself and how much you can endure. And this is coming from someone who has mainly worked in the arts, education and charity sectors. Call me cynical. I dare you.

Can you hear my fist banging on the door of the proverbial tower?

As I sat in the lectures I had managed to inveigle my way into, I almost passed out with bliss as I listened to the audible noise of people's minds turning over. Words that I had not seen nor used since I left university made a sudden re-appearance:

Well hello Hegemony, I said. Here you are with your old friends, Phenomenology and Hermaneutics. Where have you been keeping yourselves all these years?

Oh how we laughed during our happy reunion. I still had no idea what they were on about though.

As fun as it was to pretend to be a student again for the day, I am still in two minds. I'm not in my early twenties anymore. And I have already worked in the industry that this degree situates you to go into. The only other outcome for me would be the academic path. To go forth into that tower for a long, long time.

And I'm not sure still, after all these years, if that is what I want.

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