Is there such a thing as an Early Career Academic Crisis? Because if so I think I may be in it.
Crisis is perhaps too extreme of a word, adjustment is more fitting. During my PhD I was so hyper focused on finishing my PhD. You have to be to get it done. It can feel as though you are on a train, a carriage filled with data, papers, writing, and while you are drowning in this you look out of the windows and see things pass you by… events, fun, binging TV shows, family, friends, hobbies. While you do occasionally get off the train, it is usually only for fleeting moments. But then you get to the end of the train line, and it is exciting and overwhelming and relieving.
You then look up and see that there is another train line, one that is even longer, and one with a carriage filled with even more things… data, research, teaching responsibilities, grants, citations, professional development. The academic carriage. The academic journey. While this journey is exciting, I don’t have the energy for hyper focus this time around. I value the things I see outside of the window too much. I want to spend longer at all the stops.
Recently, I have thought that perhaps this means that academia isn’t for me. But, I don’t think that is true. I just now know that academia isn’t the only thing for me. I will always be dedicated to work, and seek new challenges. But the biggest adjustment is realising that you can stop at the train stops along the way, and although that means the train may be a little slower, it is still going in the right direction….