I am in a bit of a strange place in my life right now. Old things are ending but new things have yet to begin.
A week ago was officially my last week of my last quarter as a student in Oxford. I have been in England way longer than I anticipated when I arrived—six years. This has been a great place for me; it has been a place where I have made friends, had experiences, and learnt new things. Oxford has been huge in shaping me into who I am today—and I wouldn’t change my time here for anything.
But it is time to go.
And I am going, even if has been hard. A part of me (a really big part) has wanted to stay. I have had offers to continue to teach here next year; my ‘boss’ has openly begged me
to stay on for another year. It would be easier to stay. Safer. More comfortable. But inside I know I need to move on. It is just that feeling that this place has taught me what it had to teach, and I now I need somewhere new. The problem is that I don’t know what the place is yet. I have applied for a few places here and there, but haven’t gotten anything yet. This is pretty normal in academia where jobs are exceedingly scarce even for the well-qualified, so I am not really concerned about it. I think that there probably will be a job around the bend, even if it hasn’t shown up yet. But the real problem is that for the moment, although we know we are leaving, we have no idea where we are going. Now, I say ‘problem’ because the situation is of the type that could easily cause stress and frustration- but I know that the other way to look at is an opportunity.
Freedom. Freedom to go anywhere, to do anything.
I have to admit that after six years of stressful graduate student life, a little freedom sounds awfully good. Yet even as I rejoice at the thought a part of me is saying, ‘yes a little freedom would be nice, but only if it is properly sized and fit in a box with a beginning and a definite place of residence waiting at the end.’
Of course, it never helps that over and over (and over) people keep asking. Where are you doing next year? What is your plan? And somehow from these questions you always know that not having a plan is always the wrong answer.
But for the moment have been trying to keep those voices quiet. I want to be a person to takes risks. Who seizes life. And who can handle a little chaos. But honestly, it is all a bit of a test for me. Can I actually enjoy freedom without ruining it by stressing about what is coming next?
Watch this space because I am not sure of the answer yet.