Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I'm feeling like I need a little academic inspiration. Not for ideas, but I want good stories about academia. Positive, happy stories. Usually, all you hear about in academia is the bad- grad student suicides (this just happened in DH's department about a week or two ago), or worse, grad student homicides, professors who abuse their grad students or take advantage of them, the pressure to publish as an assistant professor, dealing with assholes on committees, crying at rejections from journals, grade grubbing students, burdensome service work, etc.

On a whim, I thought I would see if there was a Chicken Soup for the Academic's Soul. For those of you that aren't familiar with the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, each book has a whole bunch (101?) of short little vignettes, each only a few pages long. The stories are always extremely positive and happy, and sometimes (maybe always? It's been years and years and years since I looked at one) feature something that starts out depressing and ends up positive somehow, either b/c people see the positive in it, or something terrific happens. The Chicken Soup for the Soul book series is pretty schmalzty, with heavy Christian undertones, so I figured that the academic market for it is non-existent.

I was right. Despite the fact that there are Chicken Soup books for almost every other niche market (especially those that go for schmaltz with Christian undertones), such as Christians (duh), NASCAR fans, nurses, Latter-Day-Saints, mothers, sisters, fishermen, golfers, generic sports lovers, dog lovers, cat lovers, dog and cat lovers, teenagers, retirees, grieving people, people in recovery... the list goes on and on and on. Nothing for academics, though. There is a book for teachers, but I assume (almost certainly correctly) that it is geared towards secondary school teachers. Perhaps there are a few stories about teaching college classes, but we all know that teaching is not the difficult, frustrating part about academia (except for the fact that it makes doing your research more difficult and more frustrating).

The hard part is doing the research, coming up with the ideas, forcing yourself to do things, navigating the political landscape, protecting your reputation. I am struggling with all these things right now (except for the ideas, but DH is struggling with that), and it is so frustrating. I would love to hear terrifically positive stories about academia.

Does anyone have one?


CBear said...

You've been tagged with a meme.

Questions are on my blog.

Miss you!

orangepaas said...

Wouldn't it be nice...there aren't that many academia success stories or surprise blessings out there, hahah!