As a result of my most recent post, “The Chronicle of Higher Education Owes Readers an Apology”, the traffic here at The Six Million Dollar Scholar (also known as SMDS) has gone through the roof! Since many of you may be visiting this blog for the first time, I wanted to take an opportunity to welcome you, and give you a proper introduction to SDMS.
“The Six Million Dollar Scholar” is a lifestyle blog for graduate students—a population generally assumed to have, well… no life at all. In addition to posts like the one that brought you here, you’ll see everything from book reviews to tips on saving money at the grocery store.
Last year I found myself questioning my place in the academy for the first time, at the exact same time that I was dealing with major issues in my personal life. Now I’m bouncing back. I’m rebuilding myself… you know, like “The Six Million Dollar Man.” You can read the whole SMDS origin story here.
As I’m going about the business of becoming the kind of scholar I want to be, I’m realizing that being an academic superstar requires self-actualization far beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Unhappy scholars produce unimpressive scholarship; nevertheless, academic culture leaves entirely too many of us clinging to the myth that if you’re not miserable, you’re doing something wrong.
I’m entering my fifth year of graduate school and frankly, I’m over existential crises. I’m done with drama. Imposter syndrome? Passé. I’m (finally) letting go of the idea that having an opinion is off limits until one has tenure. I’m letting go of the idea that graduate students have to be poor, have to be unhealthy, have to be stressed, and have to feel worthless. We’re people, not caricatures.
I truly believe graduate school—and academia in general—can, should be, and is fun, but only if we’re honest about the process we’re navigating as scholars and people. We need to be generous with ourselves and each other. SMDS is indeed a personal blog, but it’s written with the hope that my voice augments the growing chorus of academicians that want more out of life than a fancy suffix and a living wage. I want to start a conversation and empower others to make positive changes.
Whether you’re a graduate student or not, whether you’re here to read about Ebola or smoothies—or Ebola smoothies (notice the missing hyperlink there?)—welcome. I hope you find “The Six Million Dollar Scholar” helpful, and as fun to read as it is to write!