Onward and Upward!
June 28, 2013 § 2 Comments
Where do I even begin? It’s the end of an era. Drew and I have finally finished our Ph.Ds. We’re leaving Irvine and we’re moving to London. I have such a mix of emotions. I’m so incredibly happy and excited, that’s definitely my overwhelming feeling, but I’m also feeling sentimental, nervous, and a little sad.
I have certainly done my share of complaining during this whole grad school experience. The work never ends, experiments always fail, weekends in the lab, getting paid crap, blah blah blah. When I think about it, though, I’ve had it about as good as it’s ever going to get. I worked with an advisor I respected, who cared about my research, and about my progress as a scientist. I worked with a lab full of people that have become like a second family to me. They’re supportive and kind. Research progress could always be better, but I got one first author publication and I’m writing up my second. All in all, I really can’t complain. I don’t think I will ever find a better lab to work in.
Irvine might not have been the most exciting place to live for 6 years, but in the end, I learned to appreciate it. I love the weather, the food, the proximity to the ocean. Growing up in small town Illinois, I never thought I’d have so many options for great Asian food. Growing up in the midwest with 100 degree summers and 100% humidity, the weather here is paradise. I will miss the beach, paddleboarding in Newport Harbor, and boogie boarding in Corona del Mar.
I will miss all these things about being in grad school. But, I also can’t wait to start this new adventure with Drew. We’ve always talked about living abroad for a period of time, to experience a different culture, to travel, to challenge ourselves. I can’t believe it’s really happening. In late August, Drew will start his job at Google London. Right now, we’re anticipating living in the UK for 2-3 years, depending on how the job goes. It’ll be our first time living in a true cosmopolitan city. Just the thought of not having to drive already makes me super happy. Maybe my dreams of owning a scooter will finally come true. During this time, I want to take full advantage of being on the European continent. With 25 vacation days a year, I have visions of us spending weekends in Paris, summer holidays on the Mediterranean, fall roadtrip through Italy, and strolling Christmas markets in Germany. We’ll have to budget and plan, but I think it’s do-able if we make it a priority.
When I started grad school, I was a completely clueless 22 year old straight out of college. Now, I’m a slightly less clueless 28 year old who still don’t know what I want to do with my life. When I was in undergrad, I thought the only options available to me were to become a doctor or become an academic research scientist. This super narrow vision of what I could be comes mostly from the fact that my parents both worked in academia and that since I was always a good student, I felt like I should stick to what I’m good at, which is being a student. Well, it took me longer than most, but I realize now that the world of options available to me is so much more than that. These next few months, I have the opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate what I want to do with my life. I have a love-hate relationship with research so I don’t know if I want to continue. I love learning about science, but I don’t know if I want to teach it. It’s a little scary to leave grad school, not knowing what I want to do next, but maybe it’s time to do a little experimentation outside of the lab to find the right career path.
In any case, we’re leaving our life in Irvine behind but I’m not leaving this blog behind. I’m sure this will be lots to “like” about the other side of the pond so keep checking back for updates from London and wherever we travel. As my labmates told me, “adventure is out there!”