Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Industry vs. Academia: the apparently not-so-neverending struggle (aka I've made a decision!)

A decision has been made! (no small feat for those of you familiar with my indecision). After months of agonizing over my short-term career path, (featured in this blog entry) I have decided to leave the cold heartless corporate world and return once again to the warm comforting bosom of academia whereupon I shall firmly esconce myself in towers of ivory. I have been offered a full scholarship and a teaching assistantship at my alma mater where I will be doing my second MA degree. As it turned out, Middle East Studies was far too marketable in the real world, so this time around I've opted for a degree so esoteric, so obscure, so thoroughly lacking in practical application, that no employer would ever make the mistake of hiring me again, thereby sparing me the dire fate of having to work in the "real world." I'm doing a program called "Cultural Analysis and Social Theory" which - I can only assume - entails the analysis of culture whilst theorizing about society. I could be wrong though.

I actually feel really good about this decision. At the best of times, I was merely content in my job, at the worst of times, thoroughly unhappy. Since making this decision, however, I've been overcome by a profound sense of peace. Now, I realize that returning to my alma requires a return to Waterloo, about which I've griped so much in the past, but I think after the past couple years I've had, small-town Ontario might be just what the doctor ordered...just for the year of my masters though, after that I reckon I'll be ready to go anywhere but there.

And where might that "anywhere" be? Well, the current plan (yes! for the first time in my life I actually have a plan that extends beyond the end of the present academic year) is for me to go spend a year in Cairo taking an intensive Arabic course at the American University of Cairo once I'm finished my second MA, then, armed with (hopefully) fluent Arabic, return to SOAS for my PhD in something to do with Palestinian politics, culture, literature, society, etc. Details still a bit sketchy but TBD.

So there you have it folks...my life for the next 5 years in a nutshell...let's see what really happens.

P.S. To anyone in Southern Ontario...prepare the red carpets and pink elephants for my arrival parade.


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