A small solitary ant carrying a leaf across a large, flat surface.
A small solitary ant carrying a leaf across a large, flat surface.
Ant carrying a green leaf on a dirt path. Photo by Vlad Tchompalov available on Unsplash

One day when my son was walking home from school, he uncharacteristically decided to stray from his usual route home. Perhaps, he wanted to shave off some time of his already short commute from his elementary school to our townhouse. He cut through one of the townhouse complex’s many courtyards and passed a storm drain. He saw a set of eyes peering out at him. As he approached, he heard the mewling cries of a cat trapped in the deep drain.

He saw the cat before he heard it, noticing its eyes glowing from the small space that allowed the…


What kind of driver would I be on my ADHD medication?

Red and White Lights on a Dark Highway

I’m unreasonably nervous; I’ve been driving for almost 25 years — more than half my life now — and yet, here I sat in my driveway, focusing on my breath. It was the first day of driving while on my ADHD medication.

I am 41-years-old. I have a PhD, a husband, two kids, a career, a driver license, and a car that I have driven since 2005, one I’m intimately familiar with. My husband and I drove that car from Edmonton to southern California, and, then, all over SoCal while we lived there. I commuted to my job, 45 minutes…


I am being “coached” this semester through Academic Coaching and Writing (as well as blogging about the experience). I’ve only had two coaching sessions, but I can say with great certainty that they are helping me out, both with my writing, but also with how I see my career.

One question that my coach asked me is why I feel the need to take on all of these additional projects and responsibilities: guest posts, book reviews, teaching a French course for the first time, peer-review, etc. Part of it is that most of the time, I am saying yes to…


I went to see a good female friend of mine this week. I was feeling pretty low about not hearing about a new job and the grind of the upcoming semester. We have both been traveling quite a bit (me more than her, but she just got back from a vacation) and have been busy. When all of the chaos surrounding my job application happened, there wasn’t really time to consult with my friends here where I live (nor did I want to announce it, in case I didn’t get an interview). We hadn’t really spoken about it yet. When…


It’s happening again. My Twitter and Facebook timelines are lighting up with reminders about all of the happy professional news that was announced in the Spring over those same airwaves (I know, it’s anachronistic, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment). All of the new positions that are being taken up. All of the awesome classes that are about to be taught. All of the cool research being funded by grants and taking place within fantastic Institutes and research groups.

And I am filled with Envy.

I am genuinely happy for my friends and colleagues; I know that they…


Joyce Carol Oates’s book Mudwoman is an academic novel; the main character is in the first year in her role as the first woman president of a prestigious Ivy-League university that sounds suspiciously like Princeton. But it is also, perhaps, the first Gothic academic novel; the story oscillates between the adult M.R. Neukirchen in her role as president and her childhood as (trigger warning) an abused and molested child who was left for dead in the mudflats of the Adirondacks by a mother who was quite probably schizophrenic. As the novel progresses, the lines between Mudgirl and Mudwoman blur, and…


This summer, I boldly proclaimed that I was sick of trying to fit into whatever mould I thought would lead to success and acceptance in higher education. I’ve been forced to re-examine that post, in light of two fellow Bad Female Academics’ advice for job-seekers currently going through campus visit interviews. Karen Kelsky, from The Professor Is In, boldly wrote, “You have to jettison ‘Yourself.’” Tenure Radical more recently wrote that one needs to be like Austin Powers and treat those doing to the interviewing as fembots.

It’s pretty funny how Dr. Kelsky was soundly and almost universally derided for…


This week’s Bad Female Academic’s post is, once again, inspired by a reader’s comment. From last week’s post on wanting to be paid what I’m worth (by the way, thanks for making it the first post I’ve ever had in the “Most-Read” list), I received the following comment from Hoosier Prof:

“Bad Female Academic, would you consider changing your handle? I realize it’s tongue-in-cheek, but why give any leverage at all to those who equate uppity women with trouble-makers?”

This comment really made me think (and not filled with rage like last week). There are clearly some gender issues that…


I recently received the following tweet:

“No offense, but maybe you should concentrate less on how to make money off teaching the masses and more on teaching.”

I’ve also received a number of comments about how my blog is called “College Ready Writing” while I don’t always/often write about the exact issues the name implies. Now, I understand that the title is important and perhaps a little misleading now, but it’s left over from my old blog and my attempt at starting my own business.

Yes, folks, the dirty little secret has been outed. In 2010, when I was unemployed…


While I was back at “home” over the holidays (at my mom’s, in the same house I grew up in), I proudly told my mother about my upcoming trip to D.C. to participate in the New Faculty Majority’s National Summit, Reclaiming Academic Democracy. Adjunct labor issues in higher education, I explained to her, are reaching a critical point, and we might (will!) be able to affect some real positive changes. …

Lee Skallerup Bessette

Learning Design Specialist, Georgetown U. Lover of Literature. Neurodivergent. Size XL. Co-host of All The Things ADHD Podcast.

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