Wow, my life over the past 3 weeks has been crazy and stressful! Up until about Tuesday morning (so 5-6 days ago), I was having probably the most stressful time of this academic year. I was in the middle of job applications (which I’d been doing steadily for 2 months), trying to decide not only what I should apply to, but what I wanted to do with my career. On the one hand, I felt like I wanted to be back near all my family and friends in Maine, and on the other hand I felt like I needed to get a research job that would help me get into a PhD program. Unfortunately because of the job market in Maine, these two goals are basically mutually exclusive. These considerations about what I wanted emotionally and professionally were compounded by the coming end of the academic quarter. I was trying to send out as many final job applications as I could, knowing that in about a week I would would have to stop and begin writing my final papers.
Then the really stressful event happend. I began getting calls from a few employers looking for interviews. Specifically from the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Princeton. You’ll note that those are not in Maine, or even New England. Suddenly in the midst of all these job application, I was faced with an emotional dilema. For very personal reasons I sincerely felt like I wanted to be working in Maine for the following year, but I was only getting job interviews with institutions far away from Maine. The weekend before my interviews I was faced with the possibility that while I wanted to be in Maine, I could have job offers from places like Princeton or Columbia…then what? I wasn’t hearing back from any jobs in Maine, so I had to face a real possibility. If I were to get a job offer from one of these elite institution, I either take it and doom all chances of living close to family and friends, or I turn down the job of a lifetime just to live in a state where I have no job.
To make a long story short, after talking to many friends, it became clear to me that the emotional and professional uncertainty associated with moving to Maine and passing up great job opportunities was clearly not worth the risk. And while I’m still very sad that I will not be living very close to loved ones for the time being, my stress was alleviated by the job offers that I soon received. I interviewed with Columbia and got the job offer that same day. I interviewed with the University of Chicago and got the offer at the interview. And I interviewed with Princeton and got a second interview. This all occurred in the past 7 days. So while two weeks ago I was under an immense amount of stress regarding what I needed emotionally, where I wanted to live, and what professional goals I wanted to pursue, this weeks I’m stuck with a much more manageable dilema: UChicago, Columbia, of Princeton?
Admittedly I’m still sad that I’m not going to be within a convenient distance from my loved ones. I also have some emotional loose ends I need to work out in Maine. But whatever the outcome of those loose ends may be, I know that I’m on a good path: I’ll be staring a research job at one of the top universities in the world this summer, and that experience will be vital in helping me get admitted into a top PhD program. While there are many considerations regarding these jobs (types of research, how they’ll help me into a PhD program, pay, one vs. two year commitments, location, living costs etc), I know that no matter what I choose, I can’t go wrong. All the jobs offers are exceptional opportunities for me, and I am very blessed to have such offers.
Currently I’m writing my final papers and preparing to fly back to Maine in 2 weeks, which is where I’ll stay until I move to where ever my job will be. I’m trying to spend as much time with my friends here in Chicago before we all part ways, and I hope that we’ll all stay in constant contact and see each other in the future. Otherwise, I’m in a better mood than I was a few weeks ago!
I’ll have to make the decision on my job soon, because some of the jobs need to know asap. So when that happens, I’ll let you know. Otherwise it’s back to writing papers…..fun.