Friday, September 30, 2005

(the day before) yesterday

Note: I wrote this yesterday (Thursday) but Blogger was unexpectedly down when I went to post, so the events described actually happened two days ago (Wednesday). But that's not really crucial to the story.

Yesterday started out as a very normal day. A bit of email catching-up (legitimate work, I swear) and a wee bit of blog surfing. I finally worked up the nerve to call a prof at one of the liberal colleges where I am intending to apply and got her voicemail. I think I left a decent message and followed it up with an email giving specific questions that I hoped to have her answer regarding the department.

But that was the end of normalcy. You see, a normal day would have continued by having me putz away on some trivial but urgent or important but non-urgent project with breaks for lunch, a meeting, or a trip to the gym.

But that's not what happened. Instead I decided to clean my desk...and I found a job ad that I had pulled out in May. And the deadline is tomorrow. Since I've been working on things like teaching statements and CVs for a while, I decided to take a flier on it, commit to the overnight mail, and put in the application. So I got straight to work. I was hard at work (no putzing here!) on my R1-oriented research statement when the professor whose voicemail I had clogged earlier returned my call. Flustered for a moment, from the unexpected transition from planning my future as a high-powered researcher with Ph.D. students to planning my future as a dedicated undergraduate teacher, I was told that she had looked at my web page and that I was exactly the sort of person her department was looking for. In fact the phrase was "apply, apply, apply." She had good answers to all of my questions, and it was a very positive conversation. For the first time I actually felt like I had a shot at getting a tenure-track position somewhere straight out of my Ph.D. And it was a nice feeling. But the day didn't stop there... no, it just kept getting better.

When I was teaching this summer, the head of our program evaluated one of my lectures, and he had promised to give me a copy of the evaluation back in August. Well, it's now the end of September, I hadn't seen it, and my R1 application needed a teaching evaluation. So after a little spur from me, the evaluation arrived in my email. And it was a rave!!!! Basically it said my lectures were clear, my class was well organized, my students liked me, and "if the opportunity arises, I would hire her to teach this class again." Yippee!

Then, as I was sitting at my desk grinning from ear to ear, my advisor walks in. He says that he has just finished reading and commenting on my paper draft, and that it is the best piece of writing he had ever seen from someone at my stage in the game. He said that the only places that needed any work were the introduction and discussion (putting it in the big picture context), which were the places I hadn't had time to fully finish up before giving it to him. They are also (believe it or not) my traditional weak areas. Anyway, he said, speaking as a journal editor, that my paper was far better than many manuscripts and that he couldn't foresee any major comments (other than maybe something technical, which I expect and would appreciate). So basically all I have to do is finish re-writing the intro and discussion, get comments from the third author (should be minor and generally positive), and then I'll have a paper ready to submit! Yay!

That brings us to 2 pm, after which my day calmed down. The rest of yesterday, as well as today, were pretty normal. I finished up the R1 cover letter, rushed it to the post office downtown, prepped for and then participated in a meeting for an NSF proposal (post-doc?), and made friends with the staff at a a pump store, trying to get some field equipment. So pretty boring, but how much excitement can a girl handle all at once anyways?

I don't mean to brag, it's just nice to have good news to share once in a while.

1 comment:

Gene-ie said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! You must've felt fantastic all day. That's a feeling you need to remember and hold on to. As you already know, it's a great sign when someone tells you to apply for a job (that's kinda what happened when I applied for my new position). I'm glad to hear things are finally moving along!