Your friends and family called you crazy. Your classmates knew they’d had enough seat-filling, fee-driven education for a lifetime the day they received their Bachelor’s Degree. Some even stayed to what they saw as the bitter end: the Master’s degree, mostly because they found out that a BA in Philosophy didn’t translate well in an office environment. After all, who wants to have a desk beside someone waxing lyrical about the complexities of human identity and noting your lunch-time eating habits as some underlying Freudian anomaly? But you? Even your Master’s degree didn’t satisfy your insatiable need for academic pursuits. The mediocre word count of your thesis left you yearning for more space to express your genius. As a result, you took the narrow, lonely path of even more study. While you spend your days scratching your head in confusion wondering how you got here, here is a list to show why maybe you’re not as insane as they all thought.
1. You get to be an expert in the most random topics
The possibilities are endless. The more specific the better. Why settle for twentieth century literature when there is an obvious gap in knowledge about twentieth-century-feminist-marxist -ecocritical-colonial Spanish literature, for example.
2. You get to wear eccentric clothes
Your students will be in awe of how distinguished you look. Your colleagues may wonder what the yellow-green stains are on your brown corduroy trousers, but nothing deters you from promoting a wardrobe which reflects your dedicated lifestyle. How does anyone pursuing the hidden depths of dusty book-shelved knowledge have time to wash or iron clothes? How can someone reflecting about the post-modern ramifications embedded in culture be concerned with colour co-ordinating their socks?
3. Coffee breaks can be written off as important meetings
Yes! Lots of coffee. Just make sure to have it with colleagues who are also your friends. If anyone sees you, you can pull out a module handbook from your canvas satchel and pretend to be going over the assessment requirements.
4. You get to go on sabbatical
What other job allows periodical rests from work on top of your usual holidays? All you have to do is say you’re working on your book or a new article and voila; more paid holidays!
5. You get to attend conferences on the university's budget
While the conference itself may be dull, what better way of taking a well-earned break from those pesky students than signing up to go to a 3 day conference in Hawaii? Keep your receipts and they can be claimed back at the university’s expense, as long as you remember to take some notes to prove you didn’t spend all your time sipping cocktails on the beach.
6. The university life isn't technically nine to five
You’re supposed to be on campus for the standard forty hour week, but who follows these rules anyway? Most universities don’t have more than twenty teaching hours per week. With the department head busy signing off on budgets and regulations, who will notice you slipping out of your office and back home to do work in the comfort of your pyjamas?
7. There's a campus bar
In between classes, who’s to say you can’t fly into the bar for a quick pint? No doubt your afternoon classes will be full of giggles.
8. You get to moan about students
What do these needy students expect? Consultation hours? Being there at their beck and call? To avoid added stresses like these, just make sure to never respond to your emails or be in your office. Run and hide in the shady corner of the campus bar.
9. You have control over when you have to be pestered by students.
Ok, so maybe on occasion you do have to encounter a student or two, but what better way than posting consultation hours on your office door? Every university is different, but it’s usually only two or three hours a week where you have to make yourself available for the inevitable knock-on-the-door. Just be clever about it: schedule it for Friday afternoons when all the students have gone home for the weekend. Just sit in your office for a few hours and drink more coffee while staring out the window, zombie-like.
10. You get to go to wine and cheese parties
And finally, topping off the list is possibly the most wonderful thing about being a lecturer; who doesn’t enjoy a good cheeseboard, after all?
When you look at it like this, maybe the choice to go down the academic route isn’t such a crazy one after all.