Have you left academia? Or are you currently in the process of leaving? Share your story!
As post-academic bloggers, we know firsthand that there is a desire for stories that explore more than just the career aspects of leaving the ivory tower. People want to know how, when, and why you quit; emotional issues related to quitting; and examples of post-academic success. We envision this book as a source of advice and support for readers who have quit graduate school before getting their Ph.D., people leaving academia even after they have finished their degrees, and people who are adjuncting or working in academia who are looking to leave. Many stories of the post-academic transition have been told on personal blogs and websites, including our blogs and web site www.howtoleaveacademia.com (forthcoming), but this is the first collection has been organized to speak directly to people’s experiences leaving academia.
We’re looking for thoughtful, personal pieces (non-fiction or creative non-fiction) that tell a story or develop a theme related to the process of quitting academia. Like any good paper, the essay should have a core thesis or concept that you’re exploring through your writing. We prefer submissions that are relatively jargon-free and more casual in writing style. Your essay can be any length, with a general goal of 5-10 pages double spaced (but we’ll consider shorter or longer!).
If you have poetry, art, or other (digitized) creative work that explores these themes, we’d be interested in that, too.
This collection will focus primarily on what happened after you quit; thus, we are not interested in treatises about the failures of grad school or the problems in higher education. You’re welcome to explore the reasons and circumstances under which you left, but please continue the narrative forward from there. You can be as anonymous as you like, although please include enough detail that the reader can be drawn into your story. We invite you to explore the messiness, difficulty, and contradictions in the quitting process. Not every story has a happy ending, and that’s OK. We encourage submissions on any of these topics, as well as proposals for essays that explore any gaps between them:
- How, when, and why you left academia: hopes/expectations versus realities in grad school, specific incidents/anecdotes, the job market, what you wish you’d known.
- Emotional dimensions of leaving -- loss or changes of identity, “deprogramming” from academic thought, relationship difficulties and transformations, isolation, mental/physical health issues, joys and new discoveries, family issues, etc.
- Career Transitions: Teaching stories, writing stories, stories of how you discovered a new vocation/path.
- Alt-Ac Careers, Adjuncting -- Life on campus when you’re not a prof or student, changes in relationships with “the academy.”
- Success Stories: how quitting changed your life for the better, how happy you are, how glad you are to be gone.
- Failure stories: screwing up, falling down, awful jobs, bad experiences, floundering, despair.
If you want to share a simpler or more straightforward story of your post-academic journey, please consider submitting to the website (email Lauren or Currer at the addresses below and specify that your submission is for the website).
250 word abstracts due: Feb 1st
Goal of getting back to accepted folks mid-February
Final essays due: April 1st
Goal of publication by graduation in May 2013! :)
Email submissions with “E-Book Submission” in the subject line to Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org or Currer at email@example.com by Feb 1 2013.