Earlier today, I shared from What am I doing? Shouldn’t seven years of graduate school have helped me avoid taking a job just to have a job? when commenting on Are PhDs a Waste Product? I must confess that I can’t get another section from the Chronicle Careers piece out of my head (Note: Is this a sign that the author has a potential op-ed writing career?), so here it is:
The academic world is hard to explain to anyone who isn’t living in it with us. And I don’t mean that in any sort of “I’m smarter than you” way. Academic culture is just hard to explain. A friend and fellow doctoral student once said something about the profession that really resonated with me: She said that explaining a Ph.D. to someone with a professional degree is like saying to a parent that you understand what it’s like to raise a child because you have a puppy. Again, not to sound pompous, but the two are apples and oranges. They’re still both fruits, but you don’t want to go biting into the orange like you would the apple.
What are your thoughts? How do you describe the academic culture to outsiders,’whether family, friends, neighbors, or acquaintances? Digging deeper, how do you give testimony to following Christ in the academic culture with fellow believers who are outsiders to the academic culture? I’ll share some observations after I return from a family retreat, but I’d love to hear from you first.