Funny, as you’re beginning classes and settling into Ann Arbor, I’m on my way out after a decade (within a week!). I came in as a wary freshman unsure about what her future was going to look like and am leaving as a PhD (yes! I successfully defended in May!), MPH, RD who still has no idea what her future looks like.
What can I say about the time I’ve spent here?
I think it’s clear that the education and opportunities have been top-notch enough for me to risk the silent disapproval of academics who believe that staying in one institution is bad for your career trajectory. Also, Ann Arbor is a really great place to go to school. You get four seasons, great microbreweries, the food culture is vibrant (though, not always cheap), there’s the Arb, and you get to mingle with really cool people.
But, now that is all behind me. Now that I’m actually moving, the idea of actually leaving a place where I spent most of my conscious life and where I became an “adult” (does anyone actually achieve this status?) is kind of scary. Exciting, but definitely scary. I’ve wanted to “try” somewhere else for a while and had been actively looking outside the United States for opportunities. I have to say, even as a native-born with immigrant parents, I never really realized just how difficult it is to move to a country you didn’t grow up in. Props to all the international students and staff who made that leap. It’s not easy, as I’ve come to find out.
So, where am I going from here?
Following my defense, I started applying to positions in academia or industry. I think we should all be repetitively warned, starting in childhood, that applying to jobs takes a lot time and is mentally and physically taxing. Cover letters take more crafting than I would have imagined. I got an interview offer for a position I was really interested in and, within two weeks, signed my contract. What. I felt like a badly programmed robot working on autopilot trying to find information in order to apply for my working visa, get my biometrics done, and figure out how to ship my stuff overseas (see you in October, kitchen tools). It was step, by step, by step. The magnitude of what I had done didn’t hit me until the plane took off from Detroit.
So, where am I going? I’m moving to Scotland. Scotland. I’ll be starting a position as a research fellow at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health at the University of Aberdeen (which, I’ve been telling everyone, probably to their annoyance, looks like the world from Harry Potter). I’ll continue on in research, but in dietary patterns instead of Bisphenol A and phthalates.
I am sad to leave a place I’ve called home for so long, but am looking forward to the change. I wish you all luck and success in your endeavors. Though I’ve been spotty the past few years, I’ve enjoyed writing for the SPH blog and hope that my experiences have been somewhat insightful (no? ok). To quote our retired President, Mary Sue Coleman, “for today, good-bye. For tomorrow, good luck, and forever, Go Blue”.