When I started in my department, there were a few senior grad students who went out of their way to make me feel at home. One guy in particular, M, was always willing to shoot the shit with me about philosophy, even though I didn’t really know anything. And he was a guy who could give me good political advice about how to deal with some of the more erratic members of our senior faculty. I really looked up to M.
M’s bounced from one-year to one-year since finishing our program. He’s gone on the market four times now, trying to get something tenure-tracked. One year, he applied to over 100 jobs, and he even got a campus interview for one. But that’s the closest he’s come. This year he didn’t get a single APA interview, but I saw him there anyway, without any hope left, still waiting for a last minute interview that wasn’t going to come.
Now I’m starting to hear that this year was M’s last. He’s done. For more than a decade of his life he aimed at being a philosopher, but that’s done. I haven’t seen him for a couple of months, so I don’t know what he’s going to do. If I were him, I wouldn’t know what I was going to do. What do you do when you come to a dead end in life?
It’s Easter, and a Catholic friend of mine says this is a time to be mindful of rebirth, a time to believe in the possibility of renewal. So M, this Easter I’m thinking of you, and hoping you’re finding a way to build a new life outside of philosophy.