notes from a creative writing PhD candidate
Academia has been my world for the past eight years; I graduated college with a degree in English and Anthropology, completed a Fulbright, and dove headfirst into an MFA program in Creative Writing. While earning my MFA I taught undergraduate English courses–my dream job. But tenured professor positions are few and far between, even for someone with a terminal degree; I had no job security or benefits as an adjunct, and I ended up taking a full-time job in the world of “wealth management.”
I’m grateful for the steady paycheck, the healthcare benefits, and the job experience. But some days–days like today–I become desolate. The greed, the capitalism, the deceit and schmoozing: it’s exhausting, and at times I feel like I’m playing a role. Like an undercover journalist I mentally take notes and observe the bankers and brokers around me, wondering how people can be so consumed by money, completely engrossed in intangible green and red numbers flashing on a screen.
Refocusing my energy on the positive–my running, for example, or on an interesting article I find online–gets me through the day. Quotes help, and I’ve compiled a few here that I wrote in my notebook weeks ago. They’re all Native American adages that I continually come back to, and keep me centered on what’s important when I’m immersed in a place that makes me feel restless and unfulfilled.
“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”
“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.”
“No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.”