University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy

After University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy was first published, I felt extremely uneasy publicizing it. Oh, sure, I felt the book was well written, and captured the message I intended to pass on to the public. And yet, that feeling of uneasiness still lingered. The feeling was so intense I decided not to advertise the book. I only did one book signing, and this was with friends and family at a local library. After turning inward, and really getting underneath why this uneasiness continued to linger, I reread my book over and over again. While I turned the pages and reread it each time I began to “flood”. That’s right, I experienced retraumatization from reading my own book. Knowing I had to work through the content racing through my mind in order to truly complete this project I self examined the content racing through my mind.

To my surprise, the content was all new. Not new in the sense that it was unfamiliar to me. New in the sense that these were experiences buried deep down in my subconscious from the original trauma years ago I document in the book. These memories were the missing element, the aspect of the work that seemed unfinished. These were the missing chapters, characters, feelings and experiences I had left out of the original version of the book because I had not yet been in a space to process the trauma. For those readers that haven’t yet read University on Watch: Crisis in the Academy, the book is about my experience at New London University with first episode psychosis and the onset of my schizophrenia symptoms. The book was written over the course of ten years, and was self-published last March with Authorhouse. Despite my best efforts to keep quiet about the book, word got out, and it was reviewed by SARDAA (Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America) and in Psychreg Journal of Psychology and was given appraisal by everyone else that seemed to get their hands on the book.

Everyone seemed to be happy with University on Watch except myself, the author, J. Peters. So, when this flooding first occurred, and after realizing so much content was left absent from the book, I knew I had to republish another edition with Authorhouse. A few short months later, a preface, and over half a dozen new chapters interwoven into the very fabric of the text, with other sections revised and rewritten, the second edition was born. This new edition even gained the attention of new publishers. Recently, I signed a contract with Austin McCauley. This company will be republishing the book after going through the text and preparing it for sale to the general public over the course of this next year. Knowing all too well how important it is for readers to benefit from the story told in University on Watch as soon as possible, I decided to go ahead and make sure readers have continue to access to the new edition until it gets released next year with its new publisher. I couldn’t be more proud of the full length edition of University on Watch.

I also couldn’t be happier that such a transformative book is going through a transformation too. At this point, given the release of the new edition and the work in process at Austin McCauley, its time to begin talking about the book. We all need to talk about this book. The book which chronicles my life as an English major on a warpath against his department to reconfigure the very fabric of language itself, altering history and everything in his way to overturning his rejection from graduate school. This journey, which I refer to as “Contesting Admission”, also belongs in the classroom of English classes, mental health and wellness seminars, as well as on the syllabus of psychology courses. I have always believed in interdisciplinary studies and this book crosses multiple discourses around psychology, literature and the rhetoric of mental health.The book was designed to start a conversation on mental health, particularly in higher education, but also be a literary aide and guidepost for people experiencing schizophrenia and psychosis symptoms in their early adulthood.

I am the main character in the book, Jacques Peters. I am in my last semester of college at New London and my friends have almost all graduated. I am living in a house with two friends, one of whom also graduates early on the in the novel, leaving me with just one support when my symptoms first activate. Over the course of the book, “neither intervention nor my own will to fight on would help me in my effort to overcome the obstacles I faced as I tried to fight my way to continue my education and move on to higher learning” (University on Watch). Readers will benefit from a first hand account of my experience with first episode psychosis, and during the course of the book, have a front row viewing of its impact on my life in Liberty, New York. I truly hope this book clarifies more than just mental health issues. Instead, I hope this book brings greater meaning to all people, making their goals more recognizable and reaching each of them more possible.

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