Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Last Day As an Academic: What An Academic Departure Leaves Behind

Note: Not unrelated to the transition covered below, I now blog at Blownhorizonz.com.  It's much prettier to look at, and more focused on fun stuff like weird fiction, extreme music, and awesome art.  Also check out my Tumblr at blownhorizonz.tumblr.com.

Today is my last day at USF, and I'm doing the final cleanout of my office, while simultaneously finishing final revisions on a journal article.  Yesterday, I finished submitting my academic book proposal.  I've engineered a pretty perfectly punctuated departure, I must say.

In the course of cleaning out my office, I've found I have a weird relationship to paper and information.  I guess it's not just me . . . we were all very excited when it looked like we might be moving into a post-paper world, but that didn't quite work out, did it?  I have stacks and stacks and stacks of paper, mostly printed out from the digital versions of books that I couldn't find physical copies of.  Some of the material I've got sitting around is simply ridiculous.  For example, I have a copy of Michael J. Raine's 2002 dissertation Youth, Body, and Subjectivity in the Japanese Cinema, 1955-1960.  It was given to me by John Peters, who just happened to have a printed copy of it sitting around his office, and knew I was writing and thinking about Japan.  It's about 400 pages long and weighs about ten pounds.  Apparently I brought it with me from Iowa, put it in storage in my parents' house for a year while I was in Japan, then loaded it into a moving truck to bring to Florida.  I never read it.

(Incidentally, a Google search provides no evidence that anyone named Michael J. Raine is currently working in academia, though I did find a corporate lawyer by that name on Linkedin.  Hmm.).

I also have stacks of journal articles, mostly related to one project or another, mostly carried all the way from Iowa, and each either readily available online, or, even more embarrassing, actually saved on my hard drive.  I'm in the process of either archiving .pdf copies of all of them from the usage-restricted archives I'm about to lose access to, or scanning them - printouts of .pdfs - back into .pdf form.

I know this is insane, but at least getting rid of the paper versions of these things is incredibly liberating.  Leaving academia is, so far, incredibly liberating.  The weight being lifted off my shoulders isn't just metaphorical (who knows if I'll ever write that academic book, and who cares), it's physical.  Like, hundreds of pounds worth of weight.



Anonymous said...

Good luck with your next steps. And say hello to Mr. Raine.

David Morris said...

Oh, nice, that's very encouraging! I may be back in the old ivory tower soon, who knows.