I spent fifteen years toying with the notion that I would some day become a college professor. I never took a truly applied course. Oh I took the ‘applied’ courses offered by non-applied disciplines, but never a business course or something of that ilk. I didn’t even take any physical education or silly (most aren’t but you could fulfill the requirement with one) fine arts courses.
I knew pretty much from day one that academia wasn’t a growth industry, certainly not in any of the topics I ever wanted to study. I enjoyed the mental gymnastics of a really good classroom discussion. Unfortunately, I had more of those in grades 7-12 than I did in undergrad and even for stretches of grad school. I believed I wanted to live the life of the mind. I had romantic notions of the college experience. I never it found in the large state universities of Ohio (or some of the other places I’ve since been).
I never quite fit. I still don’t. I was too middle class in early grade school. I wasn’t from the right family for the rest of grade school. I wasn’t from the right neighborhood in high school. I wasn’t a local and I was trying to have a liberal arts experience at a large, urban, public university, so I didn’t fit. I was too interested in religion and rather different in my politics in grad school. I just didn’t quite fit. I didn’t fit because I didn’t much care to. I did care and would have liked to have more relationships left from that time, but I didn’t care to enough.
And so I’ve circled the walls of academia, never quite willing to wear the uniform and march in the right step to make my way in. Right now, I’m standing in one of the outlying villages. We have cleaner air and better sanitation, though the risk of pillaging is much higher.