The Life of a Wannabe Academic

Detail of the life a new academic. The progress from graduate training to professor. Includes reflections on the job hunting process, research in technology and education, and what it is like to be a new college professor.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A new start...

The content of this blog is intended to be a diary of sorts to track my life as a (hopefully) soon-to-be academic. I am currently a fourth year graduate student in Experimental Psychology. For most of you, no, this does not mean that I will be seeing clients, helping people with pathology, or "shrinking" heads. No I am much more of the prototypical "lab coat" scientist. My future goals include wanting to be a faculty member at a 4-year college or university, teaching, conducting research and engaging in service activities (aadvising, committee work, etc).

I have intended to start a blog now for a year or so, but I did not seem to be at a so-called "starting point" in my life where it would make sense to really start. Though I am not yet at a "starting point" truely, I am to some extent.

Today finished a year-long process of attempting to get my first real job. Within academia, the job process is very long, very stressful, and very annoying. Becuase of the academic year, job postings come usually around August or September for tenure-track jobs. I started my journey into the job market with high hopes and excitement. Just last year, another graduate student in my program sucessfully obtained a job after being granted several on-site interviews. This year, seems that the market was flooded by highly qualified individuals, as myself and two other graduate student in my program did not fare so well. Out of us three I had two phone interviews, and one invitation to one of the schools which I declined due to a lack of research resourses. The end of the semester came and an opportunity to get a one-year position at my university came up and I ended up competing with my classmate and friend for this position.

What a way to end 9 months of job hunting....a temporary job where I was competing with my friend of 4 years to obtain. Today the committee that was chosen to give a recommendation of which candidate to choose held their interviews, and disappointingly my friend, not I, was offered the position.

Now don't get me wrong, I am happy that my friend got the job. She really needed it financially more than I did, but yet I am disappointed and what an end to a generally disappointing year. However, there are positives. I do not have to rush to finish my dissertation. I can take my time and do a quality job. Also possibly this eliminates some difficult decisions that will need to be made in the future concerning my husband's job and moving.

Therefore, after this year, I do sort of believe that I am back to a starting point. I will most likely continue to be a graduate student for at least another semester if not another year, and I will begin the job hunting process once again. So in a way this is a new beginning. Many unanswered questions that I had yesterday are now answered and I can go on with my life knowing that I will be here and not totally stressed out trying to finish a dissertation and prep 3 classes that I have never taught.

I have always had the idea that I will end up where I was meant to. Through my hard work and dedication to this point I have prepared myself to be a good academic (I think). Now it is up to the Higher Power to help guide me to where I truely belong. But hopefully that will be somewhere near the Twin Cities in a liberal arts school :)

So here begins a written account of my going on's and doings as a wannabe academic. I do believe that I already am an academic, I just have not yet found a permanent home. Within this blog I expect to give accounts of my progress in teaching and research as well as reflecting on what it means to be a new academic. I also will use this to post ideas that I think about as they relate to my research interests and career. Hopefully others will find this blog who are in similar situations. Finally, there is some emerging research that suggests that activities such as blogging help cognitive functioning as we age. Though I am but a late 20-something, I do feel that I must do all I can to keep my mind from slipping...I certainly don't want to become the "absentminded professor!"


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