Climbing Down The Tower

Musings on leaving academia for the real world

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The New New Deja Vu

Yesterday morning, as I was ascending the long escalator out of the Metro station and into Dupont Circle (a hip-and-trendy neighborhood here in D.C. with lots of restaurants and non-profits), I was struck with a peculiar sense of deja vu. Something about the angle of the sun and the not-quite-cool, not-quite-warm feel of the air reminded me very strongly of the end of summer and the first day of school. It was also a sensation of newness, usually associated with new books, new classes, new subjects, but this September, for the first time in 24 years I won't be student.

And actually, it's rather shocking to put it that way. 24 years! Sheesh.

Sure, I've had time away from the classroom: almost a year off between college and grad school, a three-month break during my second year, and the past seven months working as a post-doc. But it always seemed that come September, like some migratory geek, I'd be enrolled in something or other. Of course, now I'm looking for a real job, so there's still a lot of newness to be had. Some might say 'too much' newness.

One month ago, my wife and I were frantically packing up our apartment in Chicago, preparing for the big move. We did the drive in one day: 14 hours, 800 miles and seven states later we (and all our stuff) were in Northern Virginia. We only stuck around in Virginia long enough for a family wedding before it was off to California for a few weeks of vacationing with my family, back-packing, friend-visiting and yet more wedding-attending. Now we're back in VA trying to unpack and handle all the little administrative projects that need taking care of, like getting dental insurance and re-registering the car. Psychologically, I'm pretty travelled-out and ready to be settled somewhere, although part of me still thinks I'll be returning to Chicago.

Oh yeah, I've been job-interviewing also. I had an interview on Tuesday for a job I'm really psyched about (more about that later) and another interview a few weeks ago. It's really gratifying to get responses back from resumes sent off into the ether, but now I'm on pins-and-needles waiting to hear if I got it. Wish me luck...

Which brings me back to the Dupont Circle Metro escalator, where I was headed for my new internship. The awesome folks at Student Pugwash have kindly offered me an internship for the fall -- they're also the ones who put me up to this blog thing, and they have a fabulous new blog of their own, check it out here. The internship is unpaid (as these things typically are) but also a tremendous opportunity to meet people who know about science and policy in the DC area, as well as helping out with a great group dedicated to ethical science education.

So that brings us up to the 'now', with more coming soon...


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