After a frustrating year on the tenure-track job hunt, my eyes are still on the prize, and I've learned that sheer will might be the most important quality required for this career track.
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This month's LabSpaces theme is "What would I be doing if I weren't doing this?", and boy, did I have some interesting alternatives.You see - in high school, I was involved in just about everything - International Baccalaureate program, Health Occupations Students of America, student council, Beta Club and NHS, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, women's choir, theatre, piano, and dance/drill team officer. Although completely overwhelming at times, this multi-dimensional involvement was wonderful, and it kept my interests peaked into way more than science. As you may have noticed from the list, I had a severe bent towards the performing arts, especially dancing. This passion started at a young age, and I still have a bit of the melodrama bug in me. So the first alternate career I'll introduce is...
Broadway Performer!** Yup, that's right. Dr. O once gave some serious thought to heading off in a completely different direction after high school. The likely path untaken - skip university, a microbiology degree, grad school, and instead try out for the world-famous Kilgore Rangerettes (would've been the world-famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, but, alas, I'm not nearly tall enough for their height requirement). After completing junior college in Kilgore, TX, I'd have headed off to NYC to pursue the thrilling, heartbreaking, broke-ass life of a Broadway performer/choreographer, all in the hopes of being one of the rare few who achieve fame and fortune (hmmm...maybe not all that different from what I'm doing now; I must be a glutton for punishment.) Speaking of punishing careers, you may be asking yourself: have I ever considered a more, ummm, stable career track? Why, yes, I have. How about...
High school science teacher. Not nearly as glamorous as Broadway Performer or TT Professor, but I know I'd love it just the same. In fact, I spent my first couple of years in graduate school planning to teach high school biology, until the research bug took over my life. These days, teaching high school remains a very viable back up plan, just in case the TT job search completely goes to shit. I imagine myself in the classroom for a few years while my kid(s) are young, then heading back to graduate school for a masters in education administration. From there, I'd like to make the leap into science education curriculum design, and maybe even participate in some outreach programs for young women.
So there you have it...the path untaken, and a still-possible detour to happiness. There are, after all, many roads to Rome.
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Now I got it. I understand that there is a theme. I was wondering for a while about the similarity in the theme of todays posts.
Dr.O You can still be a Science teacher. Except that, teaching in High school is different experience from teaching Undergrads.
You could've taught science in the form of interpretive dance.
GR, you laugh, but check out this video (you might want to skip to the 3 minute mark to see the dance ;)
I used to be a dancer too, but in high school I blew out my knee. In college I taught dance at an afterschool program for inner city kids, but it just wasn't the same. I still miss it, but unfortunately my body is no longer that of a dancer's!
I took classes to learn how to two step for a girl I dated once. I also took ballet in college to impress a girl I wanted to date. Things never went well with the girls, but the classes were interesting enough.
Did the girls at least appreciate your effort, TJ?
@JG. I was suprised initially when that contest was announced in AAAS. That was a cool idea.
I did try doing that. But, Couldn't spend enough time on it.
@TJ: I took ice skating in college in order to get dates.
@Nikkilina - I miss it a lot, too; haven't taken a class in probably 10 years, and I'm pretty sure I'd make a fool out of myself if I returned now. I stick with the choir and piano these days; quite a bit safer. ;)
@TJ and GR - I'm thoroughly impressed with your efforts; we never had a guy in any of my undergrad dance classes, except for one of the instructors.
Hmmm...I wonder how I'd portray RNA folding - maybe some version of the arabesque.
I took a basic class in college, but even that was too hard on my knee. I guess my only alternative now is to have a daughter and get her into ballet or something!
@GR: You just made my day - I'm totally imagining your construction dude in a tux dancing with a nice young girl wearing white gloves...priceless.
@Nikkilina: I'd totally be doing the same if we were having a girl. Although, after TJ and GR's comments, maybe I can put the little Monkey in dance classes...
@Dr. O I think my husband would kill me if I tried that! I'll have to settle for little hockey players I'm afraid.
My backup plan if I didn't get into grad school was to become a fly girl on In Living Color.
@Nikkilina - I'm thinking my husband won't like the idea either; in fact, I'm not so sure that I'm comfortable with the idea. Unless it was something "cool" like stomp or hip-hop. Hmmm...
Dr.O., to one up your imagery of me, imagine the barrel monster is able to do the Shag!
Interesting Dr O. I chose between "drama" (acting) and "science" as a major for my high school program. My mother asked me "could you live with being judged by critics all your life - as you would as an actress" .... if she only knew the judging in science ;)
The high school teaching is still an option I guess, for you I mean, in case you feel like summer vacations and holidays will be a better life than "grantseeking".... ah well, I hope all goes well in your future and I can totally relate to the "haven't danced in X years and I would make a fool of myself now".
hm, maybe I should follow and write a little blog post myself? ;)
Kilgore, TX! Holy Shit. I spent a good chunk of time in East Texas.
You could do latex gloved jazz hands, though there's potential for people to get the wrong idea there, so on second thoughts maybe not.