Paths Not Taken

EZ’s blog is always worth reading, but I found today’s post about the SDP particularly touching and revealing. He writes:

“I will admit, I still find something a bit disorienting about trying to advise PhD students. It’s become increasingly clear to me that I won’t be able to convince myself to return to school and complete a degree any more advanced than my BA. I find myself wondering, as I sit down to offer suggestions to soon-to-be-doctorate-holders whether I should preface my comments with, ‘You probably shouldn’t listen to a word that I’m saying, as I’ve never attempted to get research past an advisory committee, never structured a dissertation, and have almost no academic publications to my name.’ I’m perpetually thankful that Berkman creates an academic environment where these issues almost never surface, but there’s nothing like a building filled with smart, young doctoral students to make one wonder about one’s own academic path not taken.”

SDPers, read EZ’s blog, but don’t be fooled by this paragraph. I can’t think of a more misleading preface to a group of (clearly wonderful) mid-stream graduate students in Internet-related studies; I trust he didn’t do it. If anything, I think we should all pay particular attention to EZ in the academic environment. His work, to me, is proof-positive that there’s little or no correlation between the number of years spent in graduate school and the quality of academic insight, at least in our field. It’s not to say that a doctorate of whatever flavor isn’t worth doing; it is, in many many cases. But EZ’s career is one to examine, and his path taken one to consider, if you have that kind of talent.

(I just wait with bated breath for that book you’re writing, Ethan.)

2 thoughts on “Paths Not Taken

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