On Monday of this last week I had my second attempt at what's called a proposal defense - basically, where I'm examined on a plan for the proposal I intend to write, where the professors on my committee ask me questions about the project. It's the last major step before writing and defending the actual defense. I didn't pass the exam and it means I'm not able to continue on as a grad student, and am starting to look for a full-time job. Most of my experience is as a college instructor and tutor, and as someone in charge of administering university special programs. So I'll start looking at area universities on the administrative side of things, and also at private educational services that do college counseling, tutoring, etc.
I've already noticed one job I might be a good fit for. Fordham's CSTEP program is looking for a counselor (job description under Administrative menu). I've got a BS in math, an MA in an unrelated field (but an MA is an MA, I guess), and years of teaching + tutoring experience, some of them tutoring at-risk students in the maths + lab sciences (back when I was an undergrad). So this may be up my alley. And in some ways it's very nice to have a clean break from a tough situation along with the thrill of finding something new.
But really, this is just... depressing. Enraging. Numbing. People on that emo-filter I mentioned have seen me going through what I can only describe as a sped-up grieving process. Here's how I put things when I described the situation at FB:
This is as life-altering and, well, just about everything as you'd expect, but I think I'm handling it as well as I can. It should go without saying that I'm disappointed, both with myself and the lost opportunity. But I've really learned a lot in my years at Fordham (and Cleveland State, where I did my M.A.), so while I won't be going on into academia, I definitely think I'm a better person for the experience. I'm more sure of myself, more able to express my thoughts on things that interest me, and know a bit more about those things to boot. Socrates was a stone-cutter, after all.
This morning I sat down and worked out a first version of a resume so I can take it to my university's career services next week. That, combined with a series of things that just didn't go quite right and built up in the back of my mind, probably explains why I reacted the way I did at the store. Something about all the reminders of the magical season about to descend on us was just the straw that broke the camel's back. But really, I am doing much better than I was earlier this week and am even getting a bit excited to see what I'll get up to next. The road goes ever on, as a wise professor once said.
If you know me, you know I take the stiff-upper-lip thing to new extremes. Part of that is just having been put in the situation once too many times of things going majorly pear-shaped and ending up comforting the people I deliver the bad news to. Because if I don't convince them I'm okay then I'll have to deal with ham-fisted attempts to comfort me which I'm usually not comfortable with, for a slew of reasons good and bad. It strikes me as deeply sardonic that I engage in preemptive cliches as a defense mechanism. There's something so... *me*, on many levels.
I won't claim to be great, by a long shot. But I've received two nights of decent sleep, only one of them with chemical assistance. I've told most people what's going on so I don't have to face the choice of lie or infodump with each conversation. I have a job that looks like it might be interesting. And a friend made me promise to do nothing more than watch Sherlock for the rest of the nigh, to give myself a break. Sounds like a plan.