Friday, March 23, 2012

Soft Question 1: what do I like?

I am sitting in a local cafe, in which I wrote four posts for this blog last summer. I never did publish them. I was flush with possibility and eagerness -- big ideas. Some of these great ideas came to pass and others didn't. It's interesting to look back at the ideas and the feelings from a new perspective, the perspective of the person who didn't get the tenure-track position this year.

Some background: I'm picky. I'm in a discipline straddling the liberal arts and the sciences. I am passionate about research, and when I'm interested in students, I'm passionate about them as well. I love bringing the experience of research to undergraduates and others. I get bored talking about the same old thing, telling the same old story. I am surprised to learn how attracted to the new and shiny I am: I like to dress in muted colors with no prints and I'm rather conservative in my behavior. I thought I wouldn't mind teaching intro classes but unless I make them new through my students they kill my soul. My strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa.

Finished lunch; reading career sites and articles on leaving academia. Brushing up on my programming skills. This is a flow activity: I get pulled into it and don't mind seeing the hours pass.

Time to bike to the university soon for a seminar and chat with colleagues. Soft question 1: what do I like? Solving problems (not puzzles -- I hate those stupid trick math problems). Soft question 2: what am I going to do about it?

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