My thesis is moving on okay, but a new kind of panic is starting to set in. Let me illustrate it with a dream I had this week:
“Dream: June 23rd 2008
I was offered a job at a university: my office was a tiny dark supply cabinet, and my job was cataloging the supplies (paper, pens, etc.) I had to sign a contract on the spot, and I did.”
Oh, hello, subconscious. Did you want to tell me something?
I know exactly what this is. It’s not that I really think that I’m only good for cataloging pens (in fact, I’d be terribly bad at that). It’s the university part. I really like academics, and I would love to be able to teach undergrads, or think about the ways in which research is carried out, but I really don’t want to run my own lab and be forced to do the things I love only on the side. But there are so few lecturing jobs and so many people who want them, and I shouldn’t even start thinking about the “thinking about research” part, because once I graduate I’ll just be a random person off the street who has absolutely no business thinking about what goes on in labs around the world. The only people who are qualified to do that are the people who work in research full time and have no time to think about it — at least, that’s what it feels like to me.
I saw some ads for TA positions in science communication and I want these jobs so badly, I’m scared to apply. I won’t get them – there are too many applicants and they’ll pick someone who isn’t that close to graduating and who has had more previous TA experience. I don’t think it matters that I’ve had experience in science communication because that part goes on the CV and they probably won’t even get around to reading it. They’re pretty busy. Maybe they’ll need someone to catalog their pens and paper.