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not for me

August 5, 2008

It’s been an interesting summer, with the realization slowly sinking in, albeit no surprise to me, that I’m probably not cut out for a career as a researcher.
It seems to work for everyone.  Most people here are very enthusiastic about a future of post-docs and finally their own group.  They ideas and plans, and are going places.  It’s just expected that everyone hates class, tolerates teaching, (or vice versa) and loves research.
I always sorta figured this was true.  When my undergrad friends were trying to find research jobs, I was doing my best to avoid that sort of responsibility.  During the past year I’ve focused on classes and teaching.  When I did do work, I preferred to be reading papers or textbooks, and not actually go in to lab.  Summer time loomed taller as the months went by, with that fear of full time research.
It’s not that I’m an awful researcher.  I work hard most of the time, and as long as I can communicate by email I’m more than willing to order parts, send out for repairs and all that sort of busy work.  I’m really interested in what we’re doing, and can’t wait until we get data.  Thing is, when we get an hour of free time, Shawn sits in lab working on the laser or understanding our labview programs.  I go back to my office to read a text book or a paper.  Granted, I’m also likely to be found reading them at home on a Saturday night but still, I think it’s telling that I don’t want to be in lab unless I’m told to be there.  I’m interested in the theory of all this, and while I enjoy getting my hands dirty I’d rather be reading a book most of the time.  I’m a perpetual student who never learned anything else, and now will finally have to face the real world.
It’s not all bad though.  Some day we’ll do an experiment.  Come fall I’ll be back in classes and teaching hopefully, which’ll make life a lot more enjoyable.  Until then, I’ll be content with my readings interspersed with swearing at the laser.

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