A new year

One of the best aspects of academia, is that you get to celebrate New Years twice per annum. The start of the 2015-2016 academic year (next week, where I'm at) offers a second opportunity for drafting resolutions. After a whole summer of preparing for a new class I am developing and teaching (which is turning out to be just about as much work as I had expected in my worst case scenario), these resolutions sound an awful lot like the ones from January. Make time for family and friends. Hell, make time for diner. Note to self: a non-microwave dinner.

So what does the new year have in store for me? Well, first of all I am going to be mid-way of (2.5 years into, that is) my tenure track some time in the spring of 2016. It's hard to believe how fast the time has gone. It feels like I just kinda know what I am supposed to be doing, but it means that I also have to start keeping an eye out for actual scientific output of my team (you know, publications).

What I felt like the first year.

When I started this job in 2013, I spent the first year like somewhat like the offspring of a sponge and a bouncing ball. I was so excited to have finally landed a position where I could set up my own lab and my own research. So excited to get a chance to do science my way, to become the mentor I'd always wanted to be and to figure out, step by step, what that actually was going to be. So excited to have the longest contract since high school, which felt like oceans of time spread out in front of me, with endless opportunities to branch out (while being aware of the danger of 'spreading to thin') into new directions, nurturing new collaborations, trying something crazy for a change. So excited to finally be learning something again myself. I knew I could do the postdoc thing, if I had to, but I wanted to grow as well. So I soaked it all up. The politics. The shenanigans. The organisational hassles. The lab management. I was thrilled, even if I had no clue what I was doing.

It took about a year and a half to get the proper funding (and hire the right people using said funding), which leaves me with the feeling that it only seems like things have been up and running for six months or so. Which means that I am almost midway of my tenure track, while in reality we've barely picked up momentum. That's a bit of a scary thought too, I must admit. So I'll just keep on doing what I have been doing: taking it one day at a time, while occasionally glancing at my whiteboard, which holds my grand master scheme for total world domination.

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