06 February, 2008

no. 13: uh

I have NO idea what to do with myself when I'm done school (finally).

Do I (if I get it) take the one year tropical internship with NO pay?
Do I just bugger off for a while, burning my inheritance on a backpacking trip?
Do I search for some sort of job with or without health insurance and employment security, but a better paycheque than anything I've ever had?

how much should I let money dictate this?
how much should I let my heart dictate this?

Oh, I don't know any more. Here I am supposedly in the thick of things, thesis-wise, and instead of being fully immersed in thought surrounding my experimental design, and reading papers of studies similar, I am instead hemming and hawing about what I'm going to do when I'm done. Or, well, really, in the fall, whether or not I'm done, it would seem. Yeah, that's right, I'm thinking about September already, and it's not doing me any good!

This blog is turning more into a me blathering to the void than expounding on the joys of knitting and hugging trees. I guess the forefront of my thoughts belongs solely to my concerns for the future. I'm sure my warrior pose will be all out of whack these days (I guess I'll find out tomorrow)... pulling too far forward (into the future). So, sorry if you're reading this thinking "where's the knitting??" my heart's just not into typing about knitting, even if I have made a pair of mitts and am in the midst of a pattern-free pair of hand-warmers.

Anyway, my regularly scheduled ponderances: what am I doing with my future? I went to Mexico for a week with my parents. And the leaving left me wanting more. Maybe because each time I travel I meet people who are far more interested in me than the people around me here at home. Maybe because I was immersed in warmth, a near 50 degree temperature difference from my current surroundings. Maybe the sunshine (and tequila) made me drunk and a little too wistful. But, actually, I spent a lot of time thinking... what else does one do on a beach vacation with the folks? There's only so much hanging out with the parents a person can take, and thusly I wandered the sandy beach a lot. And in my wanderings, in addition to seeing tons of birds and a few whales from the shore, I did a bit of soul searching. Admittedly, often enough I let my mind wander into fantasy, but I did get down to a little business... like what do I want to do when I'm finally finished my thesis?

just watching the waves often won out over all thinking...

And thus far, my decisions aren't so much decisions as they are me casting my line into the vast ocean hoping something might take the bait on my hook. Though I'm also afraid I'll catch a) the wrong fish, or b) a really huge fish I'm not prepared to battle out. While, on the one hand, I don't really just want a sardine, I'm also not sure I'm ready for a whale... I guess I'm hoping for a nice, medium-sized tuna, or maybe a salmon. Yeah, salmon. That's about where I'm sitting right now. I don't feel like battling a tuna. But the meaty value of a salmon would make me happy. Plus they're just such lovely fish. And let's face it, where a sardine would maybe give you a snack, and tuna would keep you fed for the rest of your life, salmon is probably just the right amount of fish. Good for a long-haul, but not huge enough to make you so fed up you'll never want to eat fish again. I guess that's what I'm hoping for: a medium effort, medium-pay, medium commitment kind of next step.

heer fishy fishy!

So... what are the salmons I could possibly catch in my life? Do I have any? And that's where it all falls apart. I've come across a few nice looking jobs lately, for Parks Canada, and for Greenpeace, but neither of those really says "this is what you're looking for." So, thankfully (I guess), it's a good thing they're hiring for NOW and I really shouldn't start looking for anything earlier than September. What's scaring me is that I impulsively (alright, not fully impulsively, it's been incubating for a good 4.5 years already) applied for a September internship with an international field studies program. Yeah, that's right, an internship. Probably something I could've done coming out of undergrad, maybe not something I should aim for coming out of grad school. Not to mention the nonexistent pay. But at the same time, it's situated in the tropics and near-tropics, and room and board are covered. So, experience, fun, adventure, food and shelter, plus year-round warmth... for one year... is it worth it? Will I get it? Will I want it if I get it? At least I'm applying. Other than that, I'm not applying for jobs. I think I'll let it go a few more months. I'm not worried in the least. Perhaps it's the thought that there will be something for me when I'm ready for it (do I get things handed to me THAT easily??), or perhaps it's the thought that I really shouldn't push beyond what I'm supposed to be doing right now.

Things are just getting... difficult for me. It's so busy, and so disconcerting at times. And I get so discouraged, not because I'm not making progress, but because this is no longer what I want to do. I don't really love research. I love learning, but not the statistical testing and publication that come hand in hand with research. So, the life of an academic is probably not mine. And that's fine. What did come as a bit of a surprise was that, in my committee meeting this week, after an impromptu presentation of my research design and methods, my committee all informed me that I ought to be a teacher. I guess I'm good at something, even if it's not *doing* but instead *teaching.* Still... that's a daunting enough idea in its own right. How does one decide to become responsible for the knowledge accumulation of other people? And how does one not become buried under the weight of that responsibility?

Forget the fact that I'm not even sure it'd be a good idea for me to teach... anything. I don't know anymore where my aptitude lies. Or, for that matter where my heart lies. Maybe I really do just need to bugger off somewhere and burn my inheritance so-to-speak... let my heart talk to me frankly, and come to some sort of agreement, that might in the end produce a little bit of job security and health insurance. Or maybe not.

or maybe I just need to find somewhere with a big, beautiful sunset every night...

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