In 2013, I was a relatively unemployed scientist living in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a friend I’ve known since kindergarten (Thanks Duley!!). Almost 100 applications and over a dozen interviews had failed to land me in a long-term position in academia. I was hurt. Science hurt me. I was mad at science. I had worked so hard and so long; yet the science I loved so much continued to reject me. Science was the girlfriend who took me for granted and one that I needed to break up with.
I needed a change.
I lingered long in front of Positions Available signs at Office Depot. I thought about people who quit their jobs and ski across the top of Canada. Or sail the world alone. Or hike the spines of mountain ranges that stretch from one state to another even though there are perfectly good interstates. I couldn’t think of an adventure other than to sit on the back porch with Duley eating his tacos and drinking his elderflower liquor (Thanks Duley!).
I did make one change. With the help of friends and colleagues and Duley’s tacos I pulled myself out of the pit of pity and anger and resentment (though I got sucked right back in more than once afterwards). I made a decision. I would make science love me back one way or another.
How was I to demonstrate my love and dedication? This blog of course. A new attitude. A new leaf.
After four months in Arkansas I returned to where my marine science career began 11 years prior, the Great Marsh in Massachusetts. For the next year I lived in a research field station blogging about the marsh and writing more applications. Massachusetts is where many of you joined me on my journey. Writing about the marsh reminded me of why I am scientist. The joy of discovery. The joy of sharing. The joy of muddy feet and salty smells.
2015. Monumental changes. I started as an assistant professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, which is a part of the College of William and Mary. I got married. We had a son (July 4!). We moved to Virginia. Whew! A long way from 2013.
Many of my posts will now focus on Virginia marshes and wildlife (including my son and wife). Fret not if you wonder about the Great Marsh. I still have a research program in Massachusetts and will have new posts from time to time on the Great Marsh. I am also writing a book about my now 14 years on the Great Marsh so I’ll be shilling for it soon!
Thank you all for following me through this journey so far. I hope you’ll stick around for the next adventures. And maybe even for the next round of tacos.