First, I must apologize for not being as active on the blogosphere as normal. I have already stated that I am currently writing a master’s thesis on wildlife television, which consumes much of my time.
In addition, last week I was at The Wildlife Society’s 25th annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio. I am fortunate in that it was within 45 minutes of my house, saving me from expensive hotel and airfare. Still, the conference kept me away from the blog more than normal.
I do not regret it, however. I learned a great deal and met many extraordinary people at the conference, some of whom you will read about in the coming weeks. I will also be sharing considerable information about a truly unique species of wild cat that inhabits tropical regions of Asia. More on that soon.
Finally, I had two conversations on the last day of the conference that inspired me to look to the future. During the summer I had been looking at PhD programs dealing with topics related to science communication/media studies, so that I could learn how to talk about the topics I care about in ways that positively impact people’s lives. But none of my inquiries led anywhere.
Part of the problem is that what I want to do for my doctoral dissertation/thesis is unorthodox by American standards. Several Canadian universities offer doctoral thesis options that match my intended project design, but they lack faculty members whose interests closely align with my own.
I had therefore decided to give up on academia. My plan after graduation was to get a job – any job – and maybe pursue freelance writing on the side. However, the two conversations I had at The Wildlife Society conference encouraged me to keep looking.
I am still not convinced that a doctoral program is where I belong. I find the emphasis on tradition, precedence, and hierarchy that pervades some academic institutions to be nauseating. Nor do I care what other scholars think of my work. I am not after tenure and accolades: I want whatever I produce to genuinely benefit the general public.
Granted, the skills and knowledge I would acquire through doctoral study would help me to be a better environmental and science communicator. But I could likely attain the same level of competency, if more slowly, through the time-honored method of learning-by-doing.
So, we will see. I will continue looking around at doctoral programs, in case I find one that suits me. What this means for you is that you should not expect my online presence to increase much until after Christmas. I will continue to post at least once per week (though that is not a promise), and visit other people’s blogs when I can.