As a Graduate Teaching Associate for the two years of my Master's program at BGSU, I experienced both the positives and negatives of academic employment. To be sure, my work was far closer to what I'd been envisioning my likely career for some time, namely, my chance to teach writing and literature. However, departmental and university-wide restrictions and regulations regularly throttled my own sense of enjoyment and anticipation, and were often impossible to reconcile with my personal goals as an individual and an instructor. An over-dependency on standardization hampered my ability to instruct students, especially those with reading and writing difficulties, and set back my efforts to creatively inspire my students. The atmosphere that this engendered was one in which the so-called gulf between the humanities and the sciences (or the more aggressively business-associated areas of study) became very difficult to bridge, as the content I was forced to teach, or the manner in which I was forced to teach it, only enforced stereotypes and false assumptions about my field(s).
Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed the companionship and professional camaraderie of other instructors in my department, both those who were my peers in the graduate programs as well as the assistant and full professors who already held advanced degrees. This, too, occasionally backfired, as teaching,grading,and all of its associated stresses and paperwork often intruded on one's personal life, with little distinction at times between the classroom/office and one's home.