Once again, I’ve neglected my weblog for far too long and unfortunately for the next month or so I won’t be able to post much else either. Predictably, I’ve been very busy, but at least I can say something about it now.

The big news is that I have decided to leave my PhD here at Oxford once I’ve completed my first year at the end of August. My particular PhD programme is not normal; you spend the first year in a mixture of taught courses and research (a little like a Masters, but not in practice) and the next three years are spent on a single ‘normal’ PhD research project. I’ve enjoyed my time in the programme and I’ve learnt an awful lot, and hopefully done some good research. However, it’s just not for me. While I love science and I will continue to pursue it in the future, I have never wanted to become an academic and continue research after my PhD.

It was a hard decision which took some time; after all, research is very good compared to most jobs and I would’ve been working in a great lab with a good salary. At the end of three further years, I’d most likely emerge with a few good papers and a doctorate to my name – and that’s about it. If I don’t want to pursue research in the future, a PhD really doesn’t help me at all, and in some ways it can harm me.

So instead, after spending two weeks on holiday in September (in North Carolina and at home) I will be joining the team behind Project Syzygy full time. This will involve me spending half my time in Oxford, and half in London. It’s going to be an enormous change from student life, but since I’ll be in Oxford for a fair amount of time it shouldn’t be too jarring. On Friday I’m moving into a shared house with three other friends which should be an improvement from my current college accommodation.

There’s very little I can say about my job in London apart from that it’ll be highly challenging, extremely fun and something which I feel I am well suited to. When I have more I can say about the job, you’ll be able to read about it here as soon as it happens.

How do I feel? It’s hard to say. I’m incredibly busy right now finishing off my current research project, packing up my things to move house and working on Project Syzygy and one or two other side projects, never mind all the time I’ve spent deciding about my future. Still, I’m confident I made the right decision and as soon as this month is over and I can catch my breath (in the metaphorical sense – probably not in the literal sense, since I’m apparently going hiking in North Carolina and there’s a 10K run I want to do at home shortly afterwards) I’ll finally be able to relax and settle in properly.

No matter how manic things get, I know I wouldn’t want it any other way.

2 Replies to “Fluxions”

  1. I’m sure Project Syzygy will be a great success with such talented team members.

    I very seldom offer any kind of advice, but I will break that rule just once. Try to find time to keep up with the latest research if you can. It’s very, very scary how quickly technical knowledge fades away, and a few hours reading papers one evening a week is enough to keep this process at bay. Perhaps you never intend to return to research but it would close off options (maybe even ones that come as a complete surprise) if you forgot almost everything you’ve learned.

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