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…

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There’s a reason most of the building resemble impenetrable fortresses/prison 😛

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.

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All the studying…

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The (always) windowless labs…

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.

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Lady GaGa is best for debugging rage-athons ;P

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Also, the ramen. Oh lordy, all the ramen.

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!


I’ve already promised countless mountain pictures sent to windowless basement labs for a little vicarious sunlight 😉


5 thoughts on “Change

  1. Congratulations on the new position! I totally empathize with the rush to pack and move (just did that) and apprehension with making new friends (still doing that). Still, it sounds like the position is awesome, and I gather it’s somewhere in Colorado based on the aforementioned skiing, so that can’t be all bad 😉

    Also, your thesis involves C++? I tip my hat to you; ever since discovering the joys of Python / Scala / Julia and other functional languages I’ve all but left C++ completely and am kind of hoping I never have to pick it up again 😛

    • Thanks! Yea, I’m definitely excited about the job (and yes, the CO skiing ha ha) in spite of the nervousness/leaving of friends stuff. Thankfully the C++ stuff was just from a term project – I got lucky and only used Matlab and a little Abaqus/Ansys scripting for my thesis work 🙂 Matlab may run relatively slow, but the lack of excess aggravation makes it generally worthwhile for me.

      • Eh, Matlab is still state-of-the-art where scientific computing is involved. I’m just a stubborn blowhard in sticking with Python over Matlab, mainly because it doesn’t involve stupid licensing to obtain 🙂

  2. Yea Matlab is a little pricey ($110 for student ed I think) and free is much more appealing 🙂 Luckily Matlab was worthwhile for me to purchase a license since I used it for multiple classes, research, and teaching. I figure it was equivalent to buying a textbook…minus the fact that I gradually lose functions/can’t run new-version ones as time goes by 😛

  3. Pingback: Celebrating 1 year of ‘real job’ life! | This is a bit random, but...

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