Monday, 22 September 2014

Is it time to move on from here?

Yes, yes, it's been many months now, yet again, since the last post. So long now that this is becoming embarrassing. Some quick updates then from the last post. Our son who just turned 18 in July succeeded in meeting all the of the conditional offer that Cambridge University gave him to study Maths (he actually exceeded the offer by doing better than they expected), so he's off soon to start his first year. In the US they get them in quickly after early September Labor Day, but here most universities start in late September. Cambridge even starts later, this year on the week of October 6th, so time is dragging on. Anyway, he is mega excited, feeling privileged, and we've been trying to hold back from bragging too much that our son has got into the most difficult undergrad course in the country at the most prestigious university! Brag over now - we've also had to admit that we didn't know how smart in Maths he really was because it's not exactly our subject. So there you go. Your kids will surprise you in many ways.

Also, the lump in breast - no problem. Fluid build up and nothing else. Had other usual tests to check all and all is fine. I shall live another day...

And now I ask myself this next question: Is it time to move on from here? 

Okay, there is a definite pattern that's developed here - the content in this blog has gone down significantly from its earlier days and each new post reveals all the guilt I feel when I finally do get to writing something new. So, I'm going to come clean and admit to myself and readers that it's probably time to start saying goodbye, at least gradually (it feels too difficult to fully let go at this point) to some of my post-ac writing and sharing.

What I've noticed for a long time is that many of the other high-quality post-ac blogs I've encountered and kept up with, are so much better than me at keeping abreast of the latest post-ac debates and flagging up of the usual resources needed to inspire future post-acs to see their potential futures outside of the ivory walls.This blog has been a wonderful vehicle for me to mull over the academic and post-ac choices I've made. It's been a great place to reflect on how far I've come since the earlier, more frustrating moments when I was unsure of where to turn to make plans for a better working life after contract teaching. From some of the comments I've received it looks like I've offered others useful points for identification. That's the great thing about the post-ac community; we are sure to see bits/chunks of our own stories and feelings in others and that's what keep us together.

I'm thinking that a fair amount of my post-ac stories have been told now and I'm not entirely sure I can give much more that would interest readers. I have now been in my first permanent post-ac/alt-ac job for just over two years, although my role changed, for the better, after just over one year. The hours are perfect and the nature of the part-time week means I have to be clear about how much I can or can't do in a certain time-frame. The organisation and my line manager seem to value and like me a lot. I have a fair amount of flexibility when I need it. They were particularly helpful and sensitive when my mother died last year and I had to pick up and go to the US two different times. The pay for what I am doing is not so great. The same kind of work would definitely be paid higher somewhere else, and this is what prompts me to keep my eyes always open for other possibilities. It's for that reason that I feel I need to keep reading other post-ac blogs and resources every now and then, so that I can find effective ways to hone in on marketing myself as an employable post-ac who has lots of practical experience and skills to offer. The journey isn't over yet. Having said all of this, I'm not rushing to find something else just yet. Most of the time, my working days are good and I can't complain, so I'm not quite ready to rock my boat at the moment.

I've mentioned before that I'm also in a place where I'm enjoying my time off away from this laptop. While I'm no elite runner by any means (and I'm pretty slow still), I'm focussing on fitting in running time, which then needs to be arranged around other necessities that seem to get prioritised over the blog. Some of the writing I've wanted to explore, for example some of the difficulties I've had with bereavement and complex family issues from a complex past, are still in a resting place at the moment. I think, at least for now, that the only way I'll be able to give that any serious attention is if I put some of the post-ac writing aside.

So, it's not quite a firm goodbye just yet, but a 'see you in a while' gesture for now. I can;t quite keep myself away from reading others at the moment when I have a gap of time now and then, but it may be even more time before the next post. In any case, I will let you all know what's happening again at some point in the future.

Catch you later, sometime, for now!


  1. I used your blog as a citation in my book, as we talked about. Here is the information...

    Two years ago, after years of hard work, I began a PhD program in Counseling Psychology. I was 22 years old, self-confident, and up until the point when I started graduate school, a "perfect" student. When I left, I was 23 years old, lost, and defeated. In that year, I made the most difficult decision of my life by looking deep within myself and deciding not to complete my PhD.

    In Confessions of a Grad School Dropout, my new E-book, I attempt to explain, inform, warn, comfort, and encourage other students in making their own decisions to attend school. The experiences of students and the research of professionals have guided the production of this book. Most people can understand why one might want to go to graduate school, but only a few can understand why students choose to leave. This book is meant to allow understanding in all people of the break-down that often leads up to and follows the decision to leave.

    Graduate school is something that is increasingly needed and increasingly attended, and yet, little is known about the hidden, sometimes taboo, experiences us academics face. Students go to graduate school clueless and overconfident and as many as 50% will never finish. My hope for my book is that the information in it will help to diminish high attrition rates and give students the information needed to be confident and informed as they depart on their graduate school journeys.

    Not only for students, Confessions of a Grad School Dropout is a self-help for anyone who wants to feel passion for what they do, every day. For anyone who has gone too far down the wrong path. For anyone who has hit their own personal Bottom. More than anything, this book is to help, to guide - the same goal as I have now as a future social worker. I put my heart into it - So read & spread the word!

    My book is officially out on Bookcounty, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all the other major online sellers. However, I actually benefit most from purchases made on Bookcountry, which can be read on all electronic devices 

    "An honest and too often unspoken account of one grad student's journey not only into and out of grad school but in finding herself. Not only for the student, but pertinent to anyone who has once, or should, change paths" Charles Pascal, PhD, author of Too Far From Perfect

    “Confessions of a Grad School Dropout is a candid account of Brittany Stahnke Couturier’s journey through academia. Her examples not only of her own experience but of others, sometimes tragic, are a strongly recommended read for anyone considering a graduate program. She addresses the journey in such a way that the reader is guided through a very realistic decision-making process.” M.C.V. Egan, author of The Bridge of Deaths

    1. Good luck with your book Brittany. Apologies it took me this long to publish your comment. For some reason it didn't appear in my awaiting comments (although if it had I may have missed it). The last month has also been a challenging one for me with so the blog had less attention.