Reevaluations of the adjunct vagabond

In January this year I set myself high goals. Maybe even lofty ones. Some I have managed to achieve splendidly, others… not so much. One of my resolutions in the New Year was to allot time every Sunday to write for the purposes of this website-blog-thinga-majigg. This essay has turned out to be rather cumbersome, evidenced by my lack of blog posts for the past couple of months.

Other aspirations I set myself was to be more active in reading research articles. I thus included in my daily schedule 30 minutes during my lunch break, which I diligently dedicated to reading scientific papers. This endeavor has proved to be extremely fruitful and I have read several dozen research articles in the first three months of 2017, by reading in my lunch break. Several of these have been long and extensive review articles, mind you. This added injection to my daily routine in terms of reading habits has been extremely useful as (i) I now have a much better grasp of the theory and technical details of my current measurement setup, (ii) I have read several papers from numerous different research groups whom I have recently applied for postdoc positions, and (iii) I am mentally prepared for upcoming writing responsibilities aimed at dissociative electron attachment (current research) results.

As a part of my reevaluation of my changed habits regarding what works and what does not, I have decided to change things up a bit regarding my writing habits. Instead of trying to write every Sunday for a lengthened period of time, I want to try and write every day for 15 minutes (for my blog). That’s it. Change one thing and evaluate the results. If I manage to agglutinate these 15 allotted minutes to my daily schedule, I believe I can get a great deal more of writing done.

The reasons for my lack of writing for the past two months has, however, not been because of idle hands. I am currently waiting for responses for four different postdoc applications and my personal life has been in bloom during the past weeks and months. I am well aware that as an academic, my personal life should be non-existent, but I am also aware that I risk severe burnout if I aggrandize my stress levels over my website which I initiated out of interest and enthusiasm. I don’t want to force the things that make me happy, especially if they require capacious workloads like researching and writing about what interests and intrigues me.

For the past few years I have found happiness in working hard and achieving my goals. But I also have to stay grounded and take good care of my head; not to belittle myself for requiring a break here and there. I recently learned about myself that I in all likelihood suffer from imposter syndrome so I already have severe tendencies to corrosively think of what I do and do not accomplish. (I’ve been in therapy in this regard which is going very well, thanks for asking).

At the moment I am looking for ways to escape the Icelandic academia. Well, not so much escape but elevate myself out of it. If I sound derogative, it is not my intention. I’ve had both the pleasure and honor of working with brilliant scientists and I’ve learned so much from everybody here. But I have spent thirty years living in the same place and I need to leave to further my career. And I’m sick of the weather. To which I am physically adjusted. Crap.

As previously mentioned I have a few postdoc applications of whom I am currently awaiting judgement but I have already received an invitation for one interview. Things are getting exciting and I feel that I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I may finally get out and fulfill my dreams of working on state-of-the-art apparatuses at well-equipped facilities employing the best of the best worldwide.

[Rambling] Of course growing roots is not something one does at this stage in an academic’s career. (At least I do not plan that way). Postdocs, more than anyone else, come and go. Traverse the world, gain experience working in different research fields, work themselves to the bone in hopes of getting to the next level. Tenure. Well, at least this is my perception of how the postdoc life is. I’ve been a postdoc for a year or so, but I merely changed research groups in the same institution. I didn’t even move office. Laboratory wise I moved 30 feet tops.

Living in Iceland, one feels a deeply engrained sense of isolation. You are geographically isolated from the rest of the world and if you want to get out, then you have to be good. Really good. Excellent. I’m rambling. [/rambling]

I’ve been writing this blog post in three 15 minute sessions. That’s more work than I’ve done for the past two months. Kudos to myself and to a new and improved way of writing.

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