Pierian Spring

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I realize this blog has been seriously neglected, in favor of making mindblowing/incremental progress on my dissertation. However, one of the side effects of intense dissertation work is spending time thinking about whether one should have undertaken a PhD to begin with, and the purpose of academia in general. The nature of PhD programs, and the fact that the tough experience is sometimes difficult to explain to outsiders (“what do you mean you forgot to pay rent because you were too busy thinking about party formation?”), is just fuel for this fire.

Thanks to the academic linking of fellow scholar-procrastinators via Facebook, two interesting essays on this topic have come my way that I believe are worth sharing.

Details below, but in the meantime, I’ve posted the best quotation I’ve seen in reference to an academic life:

“A little learning is a dang’rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.”
-A. Pope


Academics Are Assholes and the Circle of Niceness

A nice post about attitudes in academia, and what you lose by “getting ahead.” I think the part aggression being conflated with competence is most definitely true, at least in my field.


On Getting a PhD

This blog post also resonates, but thankfully, in a more uplifting way.