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Graduate School Planning — January 27, 2009

January 27, 2009

I am having a blast deciding which schools to apply to, but I do believe it has become an obsession, as do most of my interests. However, this obsession is not a bad thing. I think it reinforces the fact that I am destined to be a researcher. I can research any topic into oblivion until I know more about it than most people. And I’m pretty sure this obsession has sticking power. Right now, my research is focused on finding the schools that will prepare me best for a career in research. Some schools do not focus on that, but rather focus on preparing you to be a good practitioner — something I am not interested in. We need both, but I have been in the private consulting world for long enough to know that I don’t want to do it any longer.

As I said in my previous grad school planning post, a career in teaching and research at the university level just seems to be the ideal mix of my interests, desires, and even my personality. I am a thinker; therefore, I would be so happy in a job that lets me think, I think. Plus, the autonomy that is allowed in a university professorship would allow me to work when I am sharpest according to my own biorhythms. Case in point: it’s currently about 1pm and I would give anything to be able to just close my office door and take a nap, because I am very tired. It always happens mid-afternoon. (Of course, it would probably help if I didn’t eat a huge lunch, but that’s not the point!) Unfortunately, I can not close my office door and take a nap for two reasons: 1. my company does not like people closing their door, because we have an “open office policy,” and 2. I have to remain billable 8 hours every day or the bosses aren’t happy. As a professor, I will be able to shut my door and focus on my work without anyone fussing at me, and I can come and go as I please all day, as long as I do what is expected of me. I would be able to only see visitors during set office hours if I wanted to. Now, let me make it clear…I believe I would be a much more friendly professor than that, but the point is that I could do it if I wanted to. If I sent out an email here at work saying, “I now have set office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 12pm. Plan your meetings with me accordingly,” I would be laughed at, not to mention lightly scolded for it.

My list of schools that I will apply to has remained largely unchanged, although I may add additional schools to the list to increase my chances of being accepted. I would prefer to stay in the south, since I’ve always lived in the south, but I may have to suck it up and move out to California or New England. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing, and it would only be temporary. I am sure that once I finish the Ph.D. I will be moving wherever I can get a job, so I better get used to it.

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