I am craving stability.

Today I had a talk with one of my profs. I'm currently a Junior undergraduate, working on a History B.A. I've been thinking a lot of graduate school, and had for the past few years harbored hopes of someday becoming a professor myself. You know, teach a few classes, translate a few ancient manuscripts, and generally enjoy life while getting paid. The good life.

I'd heard some vicious rumors about a job shortage for PhDs, especially for jobs in the humanities. These were mostly from the uneducated unwashed masses, i.e. my family. "You'll end up a taxi driver," they said. "You'll end up flipping burgers." And I would mentally respond, "I'll show you!" And as the facts on the matter became more and more clear, I gradually shifted to "I may fail, but it'll be cool!" I didn't really know the full extent of things until today, though, when I had a chat with a venerable old hippie.

He told me about the glory days when he was just out of graduate school, and universities were rapidly expanding and adding more tenure track positions. He was one of the lucky few of his friends to get such a position. Most of the others became itinerant scholars, like ghosts of academia, forced to wander the earth without rest. Eventually they all settled down to teach high school. Pity.

While I'd like to think that no learning can ever truly be a waste, it sure seems damn close to waste when you spend 8 years accruing debt, living below the poverty line, and chasing a graduate degree that in the end can not get you a job. If you're going to teach high school, just get a degree in teaching high school. Get yourself a wife, get yourself a job. That sort of thing.

I'd had a few backup careers in mind. Journalism, Law, Actuary. These all seem like high-pressure, high-competition, high-workload jobs. Not my cup of tea.

So I'm doing a 180. I always liked math, and I've just now completed a math minor, along with my halfway-done History degree. I think now I'll pursue a Mathematics Education degree, which will take me to a fifth year here at Purdue.

It's sad. But it's time to stop blithely assuming that my future will work itself out. Abandon silly dreams and face the music.

So it goes.