Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Saying Goodbye

It's time I come clean about the radio silence that has washed over this blog.

Back in April of this year, I started to realize that things between grad school and I weren't going to work out. I'd found myself failing to really care about my research and, though things were going well in practice (time spent at a national lab, papers, presentations, etc.), I could tell that there was a gap in principals between me and science.

I've spent my entire life labeling myself as a scientist. It's really the only way I know how to describe myself. I have a sleeve of science tattoos adorning my left arm (that now seems a bit shortsighted) and have always been captivated by the quantum world. But in the process of breaking the news to Kieron (who was cooler about the whole thing than I could have ever hoped for), I verbalized that my intrigue is only fascination. It's not the sort of deep passion that makes a theoretician grind through a hard derivation. It's not the sometimes-harmful drive that causes an experimentalist to want to work in lab until 3 in the morning.

It's a sort of grit. And I have plenty, but I don't have that kind of grit. I like the process of problem solving, and using data to tell stories. But science in and of itself doesn't grab me. And it's crazy to admit that, because the last decade of my life has been spent trying to better understand science.

But in some ways, I was really using science as a way to better understand myself. My grad school experience has taught me a variety of things, but most valuably, it taught me who I am. And for that I will always be grateful.

Life beyond my feeble attempt at a PhD will start in NYC with me as a back-end engineer at a data-driven marketing company. I'm excited, nervous, and thrilled to be on the cusp of a new adventure. And I look forward to using the problem solving prowess I've developed trying to understand the strange, strange world of density functional theory.