...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

On the brighter side of things

After years of expensive education,
a car full of books and anticipation,
I’m an expert on Shakespeare and that’s a hell of a lot
but the world don't need scholars as much as I thought.
- Jamie Cullum

Two years ago, I blogged this comic strip for laughs:

January this year, I saw myself relating to this:

And then, some weeks ago, another PhD application ended up unsuccessful. I haven't got the official letter yet, but I already knew the results since I asked the program director by e-mail.

It was a bad day for me, and I emailed my thesis supervisor for some moral support. Aside from the fact that he thinks my unfinished MA thesis (even though it's actually my second MA degree) is a liability, he talked about life not being fair, especially in the short term. My grades, even in Sweden, have mostly been A's. I learned Swedish in a matter of months, and I have flattering recommendation letters from my teachers here. They even tell me I'm the perfect PhD candidate. And since the latest PhD applications didn't require dissertation proposals, I honestly don't know what else I could have done to put an extra oomph in those applications. So I asked. No answer yet. Maybe I just wasn't the type they were looking for. (Time for lobotomy!)

Is life fair in the long term, then? I've already spent eight years in university. I almost have three MA degrees (if you count the Philosophy MA units I took before leaving for Sweden – I only had my thesis left.) Or rather, I almost have four if you count that the MA in Applied Ethics was a double degree. It sounds so silly that it's almost embarrassing me. My whole youth, when I should have gone partying or something, was spent within the walls of school cracking books, and sometimes I can't help feeling that I've studied myself into a hole. After all that schoolwork (or precisely because of that?), I still don't know where I'm going to be when I graduate in June. Damn.

Oh, but life goes on. I'm moving forward now with my thesis, whose completion is after all, still to my advantage. I also mailed another PhD application yesterday to our own department, where hopefully, I have better chances. Positions are really few and competition is tough. It's not impossible that there are more people like me waiting for their big break. If I don't get that post either, well, I just have to remind myself that life isn't all about school, and that something might be waiting around the corner.

In the meantime, to try to look at at the brighter side of things, I give you the comic strip of the moment. I actually laughed :-) Ouch. Haha!


Anonymous Liz said...

Q: In Germany, what would someone with an MA in Chemistry ask you?
A: "Do you want fries with that?"

Olaf, a German colleague at my first job at the Manila office of a German foundation enjoyed cracking this particular joke. He himself has an MA in Chemistry. I guess that's why he decided to do some social work in the tropics!

8:04 PM

Blogger Christianne said...

If your application was turned down there are many more interesting programs out there, or like you said there might be something waiting for you outside the university walls. I'm sure you know this but only wrote this entry in a depressed moment. Hang in there :)

P.S. Partying, spending obscene amounts of money on alcohol, and coping with hangovers is much sillier than studying, IMHO :D

2:38 PM

Blogger PJ said...

hey, i just dropped by to read your blog today. this entry made me want to give you a hug through my computer, if i could.

(and, phd comics! i love it.)

3:21 AM


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