Me: "Would you be willing to write a recommendation if I apply to Ph.D. programs?"
Roger: "Yes, but why in the world would you do that to yourself?"
My thesis advisor proceeded to sum up his Harvard Ph.D. experience: "I met some very nice people. I read some very nice books that I didn't need a Ph.D. program to read."
The latter point underscored by a conversation two years ago with Dr. Weaver when I mentioned my interest in a Spanish M.A.: "Don't waste your time. I could have read all those books on my own."
So why do I want a Ph.D.?
In no rank:
1. Greater "employability" in academia. I want to teach. I have found jobs that accept MFA's but many look for Ph.D.'s. (<--Lots of weird punctuation going on right there.)
2. I'd like to learn more about composition pedagogy.
3. I found a cool composition program that would allow me to pursue my interest in teaching ESL (the perpetual fallback career in the back of my mind).
4. I'd feel like a bad-ass as "Dr. Gallagher."
5. I don't have anything else going on right now.
Which leads me to counter with "Opposition to Ph.D.":
2. (1. being "I could read all those books on my own") Maybe I'm just afraid to pursue life as a writer.
3. A Ph.D. is no guarantee for a job in academia.
4. I'd also be overqualified for, eh, jobs in every other walk of life.
5. It might be boring as sin.
6. I may be hiding in school to avoid life (see point 2.).
Point 2. also brings me to sophomore year of college, when I went to the gym for a visit and my coach asked what I was studying. "Why do you need to go to college to learn how to be writer?" he said.
This was a valid point, and it's also a question that can be asked of why I wanted an MFA (as opposed to an MA, or even at all). What did I gain as a Master of Effing Around?
1. My sexy boyfriend/Flo Davies.
2. More experiences, more stories.
3. Awesome friends, both writerly and non.
4. Connections (we'll work it, Flosef!).
5. Teaching experience -- I want to use the word "valuable" here but cringe at its clicheness -- I'll say instead that my experiences teaching were fantastic and that I was taught by fantastic teachers.
6. I learned that I'm on the right path.
7. The ability to ask the right questions, and to turn those same questions to my work.