Geek Ink Thinks: I hate academia

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I now swear on the lives of my never to be born children that once I am done with this post-grad diploma, academia and I are finished!

My mother is a teacher. My brother is a University lecturer. My sister was a high school teacher, and now teaches post-grad students. My father was a teacher before he became a doctor. And myself? If you’re a regular reader, you know that I currently do technical writing to pay the bills, but my encounters with teaching are a bit more complicated than that.

Back in 2008, I spent a year lecturing first years at a tertiary college after they found themselves short a Media lecturer, leaving me, the assistant teacher with basically zero experience and extremely shy, the only option (fortunately for them, I have an Honours degree in Media so I was actually able to take the job). After a year I was actually quite comfortable teaching, and was happy with part-time lecturing as a job. Perhaps it was fate, but another campus closed, and soon they found themselves with an excess of teachers, and as a result I wasn’t re-hired after my contract ended.

Regardless, 2008 me and 2016 me are very different people, and present me isn’t interested in pursuing a career in teaching. This probably has you wondering why am I doing a post-grad diploma in Educational Technology?

Well, things aren’t exactly great in sunny South Africa, so I might decide to leave for greener pastures. Getting to those greener pastures gets a lot easier if I have a lot of pieces of paper that say “This good fellow isn’t a complete idiot”, so I decided to get another one to put next to my other two. I would rather that piece of paper said “Masters in Screenwriting” as this is something that would actually be interesting to me, is a career path I am interested in pursuing, and would elevate my reasonable qualifications to much more reasonable by international standards, but sadly, I got no response from UCT’s Media department regarding certain issues.

It was then that my sister suggested the PGDip in Educational Technology. I’ve been working in the technical writing industry in some form or another since 2009, even though it’s far from being one of my passions, so it made sense. Even if I hated it, it would make me employable overseas.

It had also been a while since I was last in an academic institution, and I found myself thinking that even if I wasn’t that passionate about the course, university couldn’t possibly be as bad as I remembered it.

Regrettably I was wrong about this.

I won’t be getting into the details in this post, but let’s just say that I find myself getting annoyed with academia for all the same reasons that I did back in 2006. However, I am going to suck up the frustration (and the sleepless nights working on essays I don’t particularly care about), so that I can walk away with an additional qualification (thank goodness this is only a year long course).

Another useful result of this recent academic adventure  is that it will allow me to say to anyone who tries to nudge me back towards anything academic in the future, “Sod off. I’ve been there recently enough to know that I hate it and I’m never going back. And I’ve written a blog post to remind my future self about this fact in case the silly tosser’s memory gets foggy again.”



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