Academia and the intellectual life

This time last year, I thought I wanted to go to grad school. I was studying philosophy and culture theory and feminist theory for the first time in any depth, and I was in love. As I am still. My desire to read fiction has been shockingly low for the past year or so, just because I've been stumbling into so much compelling and urgent-feeling nonfiction.

Really what I think I want, though, is to have a life full of learning and theory-making and hard thinking and books and intellectual conversations and letters, an intellectuality never partitioned from daily life, from creativity or love or politics. And  I can see so much more clearly after a few months out of undergrad that these things do not belong solely to academia. Or even primarily to academia. To have learned how to read dense writing, and to have rigorous-thinking friends, that goes a pretty long and beautiful way.

8 comments:

Allison 4/30/2012 10:09 PM  

mmmmm. agreed. rich conversation over a hot mug of chai is so good. especially when it's with you :)

odessa 5/01/2012 12:17 AM  

amen.

Jess 5/01/2012 6:55 AM  

It's like you've read my mind. My academic work is such a huge part of my identity, the grades I get and the schools I've attended, that graduating seems like the scariest thing in the world, because it is the only world I know, and more importantly, because I love it. It's nice to think that these things do still go on "off-camps".

Heather Hoyt 5/01/2012 7:36 AM  

I totally agree! I loved learning more when I got out of college--no more grades and no more assigned reading. I get to choose what I learn and what I think. I can go as slowly as I want to. I can do random different subjects at the same time.

Kait 5/01/2012 9:42 AM  

Let's wed ourselves to the idea of being lifelong learners and never compartmentalizing our minds from our hearts from our bodies from our creative muses from our bookshelves from the rest of the world from our hands.

sui 5/01/2012 3:15 PM  

i still think you'd be rad as like, a feminist teacher in your own right.

OMG that's totally what you should do, write books on feminism.. yanno. who needs academia !? <_<

giulietta nardone 5/03/2012 5:23 PM  

I spent over three years in grad school. Honestly, I can say that my real learning started when I got out of school. Self-learning is the best kind, the kind that makes your heart pump.

We're trained to go to grad school, I think, to make money for the grad school industry. G.

Holly 5/03/2012 10:09 PM  

Allison - I still wish I had gotten to try your homemade chai, as we intended once you got back from India!

Jess - Yes! Definitely. You will lose much of the structure, but the beautiful core of learning/thinking/synthesizing is ours to keep.

Heather - I have had that impression from your blog, and it's one of the things I admire about you.

Kait - YES. A minor and glorious manifesto!

sui - Or zines...even the prospect of making a zine intimidates me, sigh. I need to challenge myself to make SOMETHING, and then meet my challenge, so I can realize that it's possible.

giulietta - It makes your heart pump too?! Oh, you know! That makes me so happy. What did you study then/now?

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