Mid-career reflections – part 8: on fear in the discipline

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When I started the Cocoon a little over six years, I didn’t have many hopes for it. I was just a struggling early-career scholar with few friends or professional contacts in the discipline (due, admittedly, to some bad choices I made early on). I started the Cocoon not because I expected anyone to read it, but simply because I was sick of feeling isolated and alone in a discipline that seemed to me to incentivize those things. My only hope in starting the blog was that I might find a few similarly-minded others: people like me who were sick of feeling alone, and who wanted to help each other make their path through the discipline just a little bit better. In some ways (many ways), the Cocoon succeeded beyond my wildest hopes. It seems to be widely read, at times has had a good stable of contributors, has been a wonderful way to get to know other people (and helped me feel far less isolated), and I’ve often heard people say complimentary things about it (though maybe. . .

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