Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
MIT after MIT.

As longtime readers of this blog know, I started my Master's degree at MIT in 2005, finished it in 2007 and then immediately went to work at MIT as the Communications Director for both Comparative Media Studies (the program where I'd earned said master's) and for the newly-formed Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. I was completely flabbergasted by the amount of work that being a grad student in CMS had entailed, but I was utterly floored when the amount of work as an employee was even more than that. Still, the past year-and-a-half have been incredibly rich and rewarding, and has allowed me time to continue my studies, which was my main reason for wanting to stick around. Even though I'm not currently in any kind of degree-granting program (and yes, the desire for that delayed Ph.D does have me occasionally wailing and gnashing my teeth), my time has been far from wasted – especially since becoming a researcher at GAMBIT in addition to its Communications Director.

The amount of media I've been consuming has been obscene. Barely a week goes by when I'm not buying another book, movie, or game in an attempt to bring myself up to speed in multiple categories. It's been a ridiculously overwhelming project, learning tons about scholarship, theory and criticism in games, films, comics and literature, but lately I've been noticing that I'm making serious progress. Granted, I'm still only about 75%-80% of the way through the AFI top 122 films and I've barely scratched the surface of a whole ton of material, but it's remarkable how much more grounded I feel now than I did when I was a graduate student – and most of that has come after graduation. I have a greater grasp now on Callois, Huzinga, Ryan, Bolter and other game theorists; I'm familiarizing myself with the work of David Bordwell and other film scholars; I'm reading up on the history of comics in the early 1900s; I'm digging deeper into experimental animation from characters like Svenkmajer and the Brothers Quay... Plus I've been filling in tons of gaps in my experience with the genre canon – for example, this weekend I read H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness for the first time, observing carefully when and where I was caught up in his description of his bizarre world and when I was skimming paragraphs due to his blatant violations of 'show, don't tell'. I'm also hard at work revising my writing, banging out essays for possible publication, gathering my wits about me for possible short stories and researching both how to write book proposals and how to approach literary agents.

Long story short, even though CMS doesn't have a Ph.D, this is what I'd imagine a Ph.D in CMS would be like. Maybe someday we'll actually get one and I can set about turning this wooden puppet of research into a real boy of a degree. Then again, even if not, this is probably how the rest of my life will be when it's not being dedicated to errands, repairing houses and/or cars, raising kids and other life challenges. And actually, that sounds simply awesome. More actual writing and publishing, please, but this is pretty much the groove I've been looking for all along.

Life is good!

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