Irregardless Magazine

» » Stuff and Nonsense « «

Academic Addiction

As a recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, I find myself having to make the same difficult decisions many students in the humanities must face when pondering about their futures.

I spent college playing the intellectual—studying behind stacks of old books, explaining to people at parties the origin of the ampersand, and making literary allusions to Lord Byron and Nabokov—but now that I’ve received my diploma, I find myself thinking what the hell do I do with this degree?

“Well, I could teach”, is the common answer.

After spending 19 of my 23 years in school (that’s about 83% of my life), several more years acquiring a doctorate can hardly be difficult, because, honestly, life in school is the only life I know. The classroom is the only field experience I possess, so why not join the vicious cycle of English majors become English professors teaching English majors?

And so, after a semester’s break since graduating, I decided to do what I’ve done since completing kindergarten and just move on up to the next grade.

I started graduate school in January, and since then I’ve sunk back into that wily indolence of pretending I’m being productive. I work on my never-finished novel in hip cafés (It really is quite interesting. I’ll have to tell you about it later.) and engage my friends in witty, college-educated repartee.

I wonder, though, if my constant schooling is a mark of selfishness or arrogance rather than something to be commended, because I’m not sure if an education is of any value if you don’t use it to help anyone besides yourself.