thinkin’ about thinkin’

ETA: it seems blog comments are broken. I don’t know what’s wrong. Phlog phail. Comments happily accepted in other mediums until I get it sorted.

ETA x2: when I say I’ve worked with a lot of grad students, I mean a lot, because of my job and friendships. I’ve helped with the research for dozens of dissertations, and seen people on the whole continuum from enthusiasm to burnout… hence my hesitancy to leap back into academia; I’ve seen what it does to people. On the other hand, I sort of do that to myself anyway without any help, so.

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If I were hypothetically going to go back to school, and what I hypothetically wanted to do was write about and study knowledge production and dissemination and how it works (not just on the interwebs, but throughout history), what field would that fall under? Information Science? History? History of Science? Advanced dorkery? Something else altogether? I’m really not entirely sure.

What I would really like to do with myself is work as a reference librarian (what I do now) half-time, and spend the other half of the time studenting and writing, and then spend the third half working on online projects, but that seems difficult to pull off. Not just because of questionable math, but because it’s hard to find a half-time job doing what I do now, and matching that up with a strong academic program is harder. The balance of thinkin’ and workin’ would be very nice, though; I do best with lots of concurrent projects and practical experience to go with my theory. Considering that it probably won’t happen that way, what should I do?

Granted, I don’t have to formally go back; I have a fine career going, one that even supports the projects I work on in my spare time, and I’m a good enough researcher to write the book I want to write without formal support, as long as I have enough motivation. It just might be nice to have outside support & more learnings to go with. I am hugely lucky to have the job I have, and I know it, and I love the work, but I do have rather a lot of things I’d like to do with my life, too.

Suggestions welcome. A few years ago I set myself a deadline for when I’d decide about whether to go back to school, and it’s approaching, though I’m still unsure about whether it’s actually something I want to do or not. (And yes, I’m very well aware of the despair and malaise that comes along with grad school, especially in one’s mid-30s; I like to think I have a pretty realistic idea of what it entails, considering all the grad students I’ve worked with). I also have a pretty realistic idea of what simply continuing on with this career that I have, or one like it, looks like. And I’ve known enough crazy artists to have some notion of how one quits one’s job to go write novels, too (hint: don’t), and enough crazy internet people to know something about doing the same thing to form a startup (hint: buy coffee), though I may be lacking the sheer gumption required to do those last two things.

I can’t help it I want it all, interspered with long periods of lying on the beach. What to do?

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