Lately I feel bruised and bloodied and far from victorious in my attempt to muster from my home institution the support I need to do my research. It’s feeling tougher to cope with institutional challenges when my discipline is in turmoil. Being so discouraged, and in light of recent evidence and past inklings and experiences regarding sociology’s myth of meritocracy, I am feeling that my occupational endpoint was decided ages ago, and this is it.
Where did I go wrong? Would I do things differently if I could? Not any of the important things- family, travel, research focus and epistemological approach, etc. Not anything that would have made more than a marginal difference.
Should I walk away? Not yet. I actually love my work. My real work, that is.
1. My students. One of whom struggled personally and academically last semester and emailed me today to say,
Thank you for your constant encouragement, thank you for standing by me, thank you for believing in me, thank you for forgiving me, thank for giving me another chance, thank you for looking out for me and thank you for that amazing in class experience, thank you for being a mentor and not just my Professor, thank you for loving what you do, this is what I will remember… You brought the real world into that room and you made each student bring their own world into that space to share with us all. It was a wonderful experience.
2. That I get to examine the social world. The questions I get to ask and attempt to answer. My ideas often begin as queries and small conclusions about class-cultural distance, inclusion, culture shock, the damage we can do even when we know better, and the stories we tell to justify our own privileged positions. I mull over my experiences and ideas, knead them, and knit them together to form the basis of research topics.
What an amazing job I have. No. I’m not done yet. Not by a long shot.