Things are changing quickly around here!
I accepted an amazing orthopaedic research job in a nearby state earlier this week and suddenly found myself caught up in a whirlwind of rental property hunting, packing, and last-minute thesis editing (no more hardcopies! Really didn’t want to be mailing those!), and packing! In between all the crazy, I’ve been running around and saying my goodbyes to the city and to my awesome group of local friends.
Today I had lunch with some of my grad school cohort, since I’m going to miss their faces like mad in a few weeks and have nothing better to do than distract them from their work with opportunities to socialize (to be fair, it is Spring “break”). It was great fun seeing them all but it left me in a bit of a blue mood.
I’m really going to miss the geeky camaraderie built of shared obsessions (and frequent shared miseries). The town I’m moving to is extremely small, and the group I’m going to be working in consists of <8 people. I’m apprehensive about finding myself friendless and alone in a new place and am more than a little worried that the lack of local geeks will seriously cramp my social life. Even my local running club here is about 50% grad students or profs! I wish I could just move my friends here along with me, but the mass exodus to ski-land would put a huge dent in everyone’s research & teaching productivity…
I am trying to remind myself that local school/graduate friendships are transient by nature. Friendships shift to long-distance socializing as people inevitably graduate and disperse, or drop out, switch programs, or take internships in far off places. But to be the one leaving while others are making plans for the summer and talking about their research for the next year is making things particularly tough – I want to look forward, but can’t easily let go of the life I’ve become accustomed to here.
I’m genuinely excited about where I’m headed. The research focus, working group, and general environment that I’ll be moving into seem absolutely ideal and it will be an amazing opportunity to grow as a researcher and engineer. But the sense of loss still clings. Part of me is going to miss that strange combination of crazy, all-consuming work/studying interspersed with unstructured periods of relative freedom. I’m definitely going to miss the journeys to the coffee shop or local bar with my pals to de-stress and convince one another that we weren’t the only ones dealing with Jekyll & Hyde advisors, recalcitrant students, or seemingly endless rounds of research debugging.
My friends are ridiculously pleased to see me moving on successfully – perhaps because my escape represents hope that they all may graduate someday as well 😉 The congratulatory atmosphere really does help – the fact that my friends here are all being so supportive and excited along with me makes the journey forward less intimidating.
It’s nothing crazy, just the next logical step. After all, I’ve already savored grad school far longer than is really appealing. It’s time to get out there into the oft imagined ‘real world’ and actually *apply* all this hard earned knowledge and trouble-shooting know-how that I’ve spent the last 3 years cramming into my head!