December 12th, 2006

Owl Side

And another moment...

...where the seductive pull of the academic arena surfaces. Just had a delightfully informative conversation with one of my favorite professors in the department about what is satisfying about academia. He's one of those people that inspires me and makes me aware of possibilities again. His enthusiasm is infectious.

I think one of the important lessons from today was to realize that even if my work is in a small subfield of a subfield, it can have implications on the way people think about language - and that can be immensely satisfying, to see your work seed the intellectual life of the field you work in. Even if it turns out to be wrong. Maybe even especially if it turns out to be wrong.

Another important lesson/point of view: being in academia can be very like being an actor. There are super-high highs and super-low lows. It's just that the hit rate for the super high highs is higher when you're a professor, if you play your cards right. And it's good to remember to this when you're frustrated and in the valley of one of the super-low lows.