Beyond the celebrations, parties, and bittersweet memories, graduation can be a defining point in who you are.
after graduate school
When I started applying for non-academic jobs, I felt directionless and did not know how to start. Providentially, I stumbled upon the simple realization that I can leverage skills and expertise gained in graduate experience to navigate these new unknowns. By adopting familiar practices of research, replication, and resilience, I became more organized, confident, and ultimately successful in the job application process.
Now what? As it became clear that I would not have an academic job, I felt lost and overwhelmed. Having given no serious thought to a non-academic career, I wondered if my academic apprenticeship had any value in preparing me for life outside the academy.
For the better part of a decade, my life ambition was to become a professor. I was confident that hard work and a few providential breaks would land me a tenure-track political science professor position. I believed that God had called me to a life in the academy, to be a witness pointing peers and students to Christ.
As a young faculty person, with all the anxieties that are part of that identity, that quiet does tend to bring in some of its own challenges, however. It might even go to waste, slipping away into the voracious demands of the calendar. There’s a refrain of next-ness, for lack of a better phrase. What’s next, indeed?