Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Things are strange after completing a PhD.  Things feel different; I'm not a graduate student anymore, I'm an actual PhD mathematician.  Professors are almost colleagues now (almost).  I still have, of course, a long while until I am at the same point in my career, but I'm much closer to their level.  On the other end of the spectrum, when a graduate student asks me a question, I'm answering as someone who has finished a PhD.  I'm not sure how big the distinction is, but it still feels like I'm not quite in the same place they are.

Of course, the difference is mostly in how things feel.  While I've finished my degree, I'm still a student for the rest of the semester.  When that is over, I'll be teaching a summer school class for basically graduate student pay.  But teaching feels more authoritative, not like I didn't know what I was talking about before, but I feel more like a real professor.  It's a good feeling, overall, but there is also an impression of being stuck between worlds.

A big part of feeling stuck is the uncertainty of where I'll be working next year.  This throws everything up in the air.  We will definitely not be staying in Denver, but we don't know exactly when or where we will be moving; so the questions start to pile up.  Anything we might decide to buy becomes a question of how badly do we need it, and how hard will it be to move?  For example, we want to get a blender.  But do we really want to box it up in a couple of months to move it?  Also, what happens if we move to Australia, and we sit there looking at the blender wondering what sort of adaptors we need to plug it in?

It also feels difficult to plan anything.  Jack White is playing a concert on August 8th, and we both really want to go (he's a favorite of Ursula's).  But will we still be living here?  Maybe we will be, and sorry we didn't get tickets.  But maybe if we buy them, we'll be trying to unload them in July to move out of town.  The moving itself is also a complication.  We may need to move things into storage, but where? Do we truck everything out to California, and then put it into storage there?  I know these are first world problems, but with how good married life is, I need something to complain about. :)  All we really know is we'll move somewhere, probably sometime after July, and then who knows what.

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