Ok, you went to Oberlin or maybe Swarthmore or Bowdoin or Haverford or Macalester. It was your first experience away from home — your first real intellectual stimulation, the drugs, the sex — it was a total mind blowing experience. You had dinner at a professor’s house and then stayed late into the night discussing the Russian Revolution. You experimented with Marxism, liberation theology, or maybe even poetry. From the moment you left college, you knew you would get your Ph.D. and become a liberal arts college professor.
Sorry to burst the bubble, but let me be blunt here. You can’t get it back. Seriously, you can’t. When you finish your Ph.D. and land that job in a liberal arts college – you are not a student experiencing new and “fresh” ideas for the first time in your life. You are an untenured assistant professor. (With an emphasis on untenured and assistant). There is nothing “fresh” about being untenured and assistant (emphasis is still there). And, there is no more experimentation.
And for those of you interviewing for a job in a liberal arts college and planing to tell us all about how “the liberal arts education transformed” your life. Don’t. Really.