Saturday, December 18, 2010

Changes and a serious lack of biking

So two things first:

1) As I had mentioned before, a while ago I came out to stay with Alanna before we go. Her place is actually in the city an much closer to the university. After being there for a day or so I went home and got my winter beater bike, anxious to start commuting again. That day I developed a throat infection and cold that I am just now over. So I have done no riding. zip.

2) Even if I was well, there is NO SNOW! It is just RDF (rain, drizzle, fog. We say it so much in Newfoundland that we just abbreviate it to save time). Especially for the last couple of has been pouring rain. So I wouldn't even really get to try out my studded tires.

But change is a foot.

I am currently in my lab, completing my final experiment of my physics masters program. It is Saturday, and I will most likely be here until very late tonight to finish it, but it is the last one. As tedious as it can all be sometimes, and how I always feel like I'm missing something, or I'm not smart enough to keep up with it all, there are several things I will miss about being an experimentalist.

I'll miss the inventing and ingenuity around designing a new technique, and building the small pieces needed to complete the task. I'll miss the microscope, sitting in front of it, looking for elusive particles or system behaviors. I'll miss the thrill of working on something for months, and then when you are most desperate and it seems like everything will fall to pieces, everything falls into place and you make a wonderful discovery. The problem is, that discovery then leads to 6 more months of suffering trying to understand the next thing, waiting for the next moment of clarity. As wonderful as that moment is, for me, all the stress, and anxiety, and suffering is just not worth it.

I don't want to have to take the work home with me. I don't want to lay in bed wondering if the work I've done over the past few days will end up being a total waste of time. I don't want to have to worry about explaining phenomena, and making excuses for why it's different from what we expected, and massaging things to make it look better instead of developing a better experiment... That last thing, I think that is the kicker for me. I would rather toil for days, months to improve technique, and apparatus, than spend 1 day figuring out how I can take the "okay" results I have and finding the physics in it.

It is the tinkerer in me I fear. I realized this year that I'm not cut out to be a professor. I just don't have it in me. These men and women I see in our department, live and breath this stuff, and I do not. I'm much rather suited to hands on, technical stuff, than theoretical, writing papers stuff.

I had to go start my next experimental run...where was I...

I think in that regard working in the industry as a Technical Representative for Microscopes will be an interesting change. I get to try and sell microscopes, set them up, do demos, tech support, etc. I'm looking forward to the work, I hope I won't be awful at it.

We leave for Florida for Christmas Vacation soon, then shortly after we get back I leave for Halifax. On New Years Eve, my father and mother are driving their truck and a U-Haul trailer, and Alanna and I will drive my new Honda Civic across the province of Newfoundland from St. John's to Port aux Basques, take the ferry to Sydney, Nova Scotia, then drive to Halifax. The whole trip will take a little under 2 days. We should get into Halifax around lunch time or a little later on January 1st. Mom and Dad will then drive home, and Alanna is staying with me until the 9th to help me get settled in. Then she is flying back to St. John's to continue her folklore masters program. I have to visit her as often as possible. I'm going to miss her, but we are very much in love and I have no doubt in my mind that the distance won't keep us apart for long.

It is also my first time not being in a school system since I was 5 years old.
I've rarely been out of Newfoundland.

It's going to be a big change. And I've also got to look forward to writing my thesis on the side when I move there.

Wish me luck.