Monday, June 13, 2016

What next?

Two of the most frequent (and dreaded) questions you're asked as a PhD student are:
1) How's your thesis going?
2) So what's next?

Depending on the day or week that you are asked, these questions can trigger mini existential crises and heart palpitations. (It's a bit of a crap shoot so if you're not sure where your friend is in the process, rather don't ask these things!) Fortunately, if you're making progress, these are welcome questions that keep you on your toes.

I'm almost ready to submit my thesis so part of me wants to do a happy dance, but then the other part realizes, "Oh wait, what am I doing next?" After more than four years of single-mindedly pursuing your thesis topic in the ivory tower of academia, you suddenly are faced with the paradox of choice (shout out to a professor from my alma mater).

I find myself in the tricky but privileged position of not only trying to decide what career path to pursue, but also where to pursue it? As an American who has now lived overseas for more than six years, I'm not quite sure where home is anymore. The aphorism "Home is where the heart is" holds a lot of truth, but what if your heart is divided? I love my family, who are mainly in the US, but I also have a seemingly insatiable wanderlust and desire to live all over the world.

I'll wait to see what opportunities arise and keep praying into these decisions, but I'm happy to dream about the possibilities. So what's the answer to the question? I don't know for now, but I'm happy where I am and grateful to be at this point.

To be continued...