Thoughts on Academia and a Plea for Help

This is the official picture from the conference website. Beautiful, no?

This is the official picture from the conference website. Beautiful, no?

As many of my friends know, I have been accepted to present at the International Ecopoetics Conference in Perpignan, France this June. I have applied for funding from the University and have received some, but not enough to cover a trip to France, even a simple one.

For those of you who don’t live in the great ivory tower of academia, it might seem strange to you that we travel around the world for the sake of presenting a 20 minute paper and receiving comments from our peers. Maybe it is strange, in this world where we can read a blog post a few seconds after it is posted, even from halfway around the world--but this is how academia works. We are required to attend conferences in person and to publish in “peer reviewed” journals that accept from 5-10% of the articles submitted to them. If we don’t have two articles published by the time we graduate, we have no chances of getting a job. If we do get a job, we have to publish a monograph (book) within the next four-five years or we cannot keep that job.

It’s a bit of a mess and nearly impossible to navigate as a PhD student. I’m still a novice, figuring out the steps and how to do what needs to be done. I’m in this for the long haul, but my goal in life is to teach, not be a famous academic, so it’s a little overwhelming. Yes, I could probably teach high school for a lot more pay and a lot less stress, but there’s something about college students that is particularly special. I dream of teaching at a school like UD, even knowing the politics, poor pay, and treatment that my mentors at my alma mater live with. It’s all about the students.

Why am I writing this? Don’t worry; this isn’t a rant about academia. I know what I got myself into. I’m writing this to let you all know that I have a "Go Fund Me" going to try and raise money for my trip. If you’re interested in donating, or just simply curious about what I’m presenting that is important enough to fly to France, check out my gofundme page.