Today is officially my last day at OldEuropeU! Generally, I’m not nostalgic about these things; I tend to look forwards rather than backwards. However, maybe 20 years from now, I’ll look back on this post and feel some nostalgia
Like most PhD students, I’ve had my fair share of peaks and valleys along the way. I wouldn’t say I’ve had the best advisor but I have heard of others having worse. And the difficulties along the way have definitely made me a better researcher and a better academic. This includes good things like finding alternative methods to communicate with someone better which helped me grow as a person. And some bad instances, such as doing things in spite of someone else to prove you’re a top researcher and you deserve more support. Motivating a PhD program on rage and vitriol isn’t so great but it can help during the slog of long hours in the lab or wee hours of the morning writing papers.
A little over 4 years ago, I set out to get a PhD and obtain a position in academia. You don’t graduate and get a position in academia without some key support from your PhD advisor, and I got it when I needed it most. And I guess whatever was in those letters to the numerous search committees worked. It’s only after the fact that you realize those things. Now that I’ve reached that marker in the road, I’d be lying if I said didn’t have a successful PhD program, including the ups and downs.
But I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t glad the “big European adventure” was almost over. I am looking forward to being back in the US and working at a top tier university. I don’t mind the uphill trek towards tenure ahead, I just hope I embark on a path that doesn’t have as many hills. .