22 October 2006

Degree-taking a dead loss

(copy of a letter)

Well, you may say a second class degree in maths is some good, and of course that was what everyone wanted to make me accept at the time (instead of offering me any help) when I was just aware of being thrown out empty-handed. But the fact was that since it did not get me into the sort of academic career which I absolutely needed to have (residential, with hotel facilities, and socially statusful, such as a Fellowship or Professorship) it was useless to me. I hadn’t got anything out of doing the work for it either, because it had for many years been a case of working without any motivation, in fact in a state of nightmarish stress which reduced my functionality to the lowest possible ebb.

If you neither get anything out of the experience, in fact you get negative experience, and you are left without any usable qualification to provide you with entry to the sort of career which you need to have, and without any tolerable way of supporting yourself at all, then doing a degree is a dead loss. And the B.Litt and D.Phil were, in neither case, positive experiences. They were both just attempts to struggle back towards the sort of career which I needed to be having by doing some tedious and pointless work in bad circumstances, and they produced no result in providing me with academic position or salary, or even access to funding to do research in my own independent academic institution. So all my degrees, so far as I am concerned, were a dead loss, although the maths was the most agonising.