poo-tee-weet's picture
poo-tee-weet is reading A.M.Holmes' End of Alice October 24, 2011 - 6:25pm

 Greetings,

Was just wondering how many of the LitReactor frequenters are Post Grad Students? who's here for academic purposes? Attempting to balance the creative act and theory? Or just escaping?

(I'm a first year PHD in American Literature - am not discussing topic because its just changed - can feel grant money about to go out of window!)

Am feeling a bit deflated as after over 18 years of being in the education system I'm not even qualified to be a waitress (My TAFE certificates ran out).

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 24, 2011 - 7:33pm

i pretty much have a bachelors degree, besides some language requirement fuck ups i need addressed. but then i will be getting an MFA in writing and some snazzy teaching credentials.

Ben's picture
Ben from Australia is reading My Booky Wook by Russell Brand October 24, 2011 - 7:41pm

I'm halfway through my first year of my PhD, having completed my Honours year of my Bachelor's degree in Business last year.  I'm about 10000 words in so far (most of which was churned out in the last month)...  Although, as I'm studying marketing, I'm not here for academic purposes.  I'd love to branch out and produce some fiction (I'm about 8500 words into a novel, too), as I have the non-fiction side fairly well covered at the moment (my first publication is in the works, currently sitting with a journal editor - here's hoping it doesn't get desk-rejected).  But for me, writing fiction is infinitely more difficult than writing non-fiction, so I'm here to learn and improve so I can take my escapism to its full potential.  I've found as well that working through some of the craft essays here has improved my non-fiction writing too, in that I've been able to tighten up my sentence and paragraph structure within my thesis and in journal articles (particularly abstracts, where you have low words count of around 150 words to cover a substantial volume of work).

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs October 24, 2011 - 7:46pm

Got an MFA recently. Planning to apply to one PhD program in particular. My chances of acceptance are slim.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 25, 2011 - 2:24am

Doing a PhD in Literature. I have a BA in English Lit and an MA in Philosophy.

carol's picture
carol from Bronx, NY October 25, 2011 - 8:27am

I was enrolled in an English PhD program for a couple of years before dropping out. The only reason I went into the program in the first place was because one of my favorite authors said he believed it was essential for a would-be writer to get an advanced degree in literature, which I agree with. But I felt more and more lost in the weird slant academia has taken in recent years to justify literary studies as a pseudo-sociology. To me, the ciritical theory just spun out of control into the most bizarre abstractions that I'm pretty sure the authors being studied would have laughed at. And the workload combined with the expense of schooling was also just too much.

poo-tee-weet's picture
poo-tee-weet is reading A.M.Holmes' End of Alice October 25, 2011 - 10:07pm

To Carol: I can't help the feeling that most author's would be appauled at the shit that gets said about them. I have the same feeling that a lot of higher education is just theory for theories sake.

To Ben and Phil: Where the fuck do you find the time? aka am very impressed! (how long did all that take you?)

And was it really worth it (For human development and employment)

I did a double degree in literature and journalism - but found that the journalism side of it just wore down my willingness to live (not a comment on the profession, just the way its taught in university).

What's MFA?

poo-tee-weet's picture
poo-tee-weet is reading A.M.Holmes' End of Alice October 25, 2011 - 10:08pm

 Ben: What is your non-fiction work?

 

 

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs October 25, 2011 - 10:16pm

What's MFA?

 

A master's degree in fine arts. I got mine in creative writing (although the actual term for my degree was "Writing and Poetics with a concentration in prose"). Others get it in visual arts or performance (dance, theatre, etc.).

lynx_child's picture
lynx_child from Seattle is reading The Dresden Files series October 25, 2011 - 10:35pm

Nearing the end of my master's in computer science.  Probably not going to go for a PhD.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. October 25, 2011 - 11:57pm

Currently working on my Master's in Psychology.  I want to work in the mental health field.  To me it all goes together since all my characters are insane in my writing anyway and writing is all about the inhuman experience.  When I first went into college I was going to major in English but honestly I wasn't sure what I would do with that degree and I really don't want to be a teacher.  I learn more from human interaction anyway and not just in an academic setting but with real people who are a little, how shall we say, off their rocker.  For some reason, crazy people have been drawn to me my whole life.  My first girlfirend in elementary school turned out to be schizo, I didn't realize until years later that was why she answered me in two different voices and when she came to school some days, she couldn't remember who I was.  It was very strange.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 26, 2011 - 12:49am

@poo-tee-weet

It's pretty cool, so I enjoy it. Plus, I'm a mega-obsessive reader when I get a topic that interests me.

Ben's picture
Ben from Australia is reading My Booky Wook by Russell Brand October 26, 2011 - 1:31am

What Phil said; I'm the same.

As for my non-fiction work: I've co-written (as the primary author) a scholarly journal article based on my Honours thesis, which examined the relative effectiveness (affectively and conatively - so, as far as attitudes and behavioural intentions go) of product placements and traditional advertising (specifically, television and print advertisements).  My findings weren't especially interesting, though: product placement was found to be no more and no less effective than traditional advertising as far as purchase intention and attitude towards the product went, but print ads were found to generate more positive attitudes towards the ad than television commercials or product placements (which I theorised was due to the static nature of print, as opposed to the fleeting nature of the other stimuli).  The methodology isn't all that rigorous, though, but I didn't discover that until it was too late to adapt it...  Still, I figure I might as well try to get it published; I've hidden the flaw fairly well with the way I've written the paper, but it's really going to depend on which reviewers I get.  Fingers crossed it will be accepted before the middle of next year.

Anyway, I've taken a segment of that research and used it as the foundation upon which to base my PhD.  So that's given me a nice headstart on most people, as I already have a fairly substantial literature review completed.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading October 26, 2011 - 3:37am

@ carol

Interesting to hear about your experience with critical theory. I'm a huge fan of spending time in isolation trying to piece together what critical theorists have said or written, but I acknowledge it's maddening a lot of the time. The thing is that I'm not convinced critical theory is about explaining what authors had in mind. If I understand what you're saying when you write that "the ciritical theory just spun out of control into the most bizarre abstractions that I'm pretty sure the authors being studied would have laughed at" — then I have to disagree, because it seems to me that the assumption behind that is one of critical theory "explaining" a literary work. Maybe it's my own experience that's misled me, but I've rarely met an academic who wants to explain a work through critical theory. It's been more the case that a work of literature serves as a starting point for critical debate.

To be clear, I agree it's irritating when the level of abstraction reaches the point of irrelevance, but quite often there's a point to the abstractions. To a lot of people it seems masturbatory, granted, but that's something the non-masturbators have to deal with. You probably did the right thing, though, in not going through with the PhD, if it was already bugging you. It keeps getting worse!

 

poo-tee-weet's picture
poo-tee-weet is reading A.M.Holmes' End of Alice November 8, 2011 - 4:08pm

 Aside from it all, I enjoy the proto-academic lifestyle (cheap but stimulating)...am hoping that there will still be positions avaliable in the future.

 

poo-tee-weet's picture
poo-tee-weet is reading A.M.Holmes' End of Alice November 8, 2011 - 4:16pm

 Btw Phil I agree with you.
I recently had the eye opening experience of tutoring Renaissance Literature to a diverse group of students. Some were third year arts student, some education and a few where third year biology student who had to take a compulsory English subject. And it was a real revelation trying to make the bio students have the epiphanies that the subject was all about. Whilst the seasoned arts students had few issues, the others through that the theory I was trying to un-pack for them was mindless and pointless, but the biggest reward was having everyone getting something out of Paradise Lost. I consider it my first academic achievement.