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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I've been into online journal keeping since I was in high school. Back then I didn't seem to have a problem writing and sharing personal aspects of my life. But in this new era of my life, I feel pressure to keep those aspects to myself. They're not "cute" nor can I throw a filter on them to improve their presentation. In spite of these anxieties I feel about sharing, I have an ever present urge to connect with others and that is motivating me to write this post.

As of December I have been unemployed. Not by choice. Life is tough for adjunct faculty at institutions of higher education, and I'm no exception. While I have an amazing and supportive partner and I've been fortunate enough to be able to collect unemployment, it's been a hard time for me. The narrative we are told says that if you go to school and graduate you'll get a job, and the higher the degree you graduate with the better that job will be. Well this narrative has been proven false, and it's a hard pill to swallow. I graduated in May with an MA in English. I spent the summer teaching ESL & career planning at two separate institutions and was given 3 sections of English to teach in the fall at our local university. But after the semester ended I was not invited back to teach. I received no call either confirming or denying the reinstatement of my contract, but came to the conclusion that I would not be teaching when the first day of school came and went and I hadn't heard anything.

In case you didn't know, adjunct faculty are people who teach at colleges and universities but have no job security. We are non-contract persons who work hard and love our students but at the end of the day can be tossed aside to accommodate the cost of the ever inflating administrative machine. I am critical of the priorities of higher education to turn spaces of learning into corporations. But I am also critical of myself for believing their narrative and thinking that somehow I would be exempt from the reality of adjunct teaching. I've taken my unemployment personally, though I probably shouldn't. I did the things I needed to do to be successful and yet here I am.

In the end, I suppose, I'm hoping that sharing this will help me move on and begin to take things a little less personally. It's hard to not constantly question myself and my choices when I'm home alone all day with only my thoughts to keep me company. However, I still have my craft. Between job hunting, applying, and interviewing I've been able to spend a lot of my time knitting and honing my technique which I am grateful for. But as much as I love to make, I really do hope that I will be able to join the workforce again soon.

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