Aaargh! Future! I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about what I want to be when I grow up.
The Warden has warned us that he’s going to send out an email soon asking us to clarify if we’ll be available to come back for another year as Assistant Wardens. I won’t. In college, we have been told to vacate our desks by the end of July. They’re shutting down our PhD office. And I’ll have to pay almost €6000 if I don’t finish my PhD by September. This is the end of an era. I have to be some kind of grown-up again soon.
Last week, I was sitting in on the presentations that candidates were doing as part of the interview process for a lecturing job in the School of Education. And it inspired me. I could do that!
I sat down and started looking at jobs. I have a real travel bug, and one of my New Year’s resolutions was that I wouldn’t work in either the school I teach in or in the department where I’m doing my PhD. I need something new.
I saw lots of interesting ads, but two in particular caught my eye and I started applying for both. One was in Phoenix, Arizona and the other was in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I googled both cities and set to learning about both. I discovered that most of Arizona does not observe daylight savings time and that foreigners aren’t allowed into the areas of Sri Lanka affected by the civil war.
Obviously, I also googled “gay Phoenix” and “gay Colombo”. There was a considerable difference. Gay sex is illegal in Sri Lanka, and one of the recommended places to meet other gay men is a pathway by a forest that gets dark at night where you can come across “gay fun seekers”. Phoenix, on the other hand, is the sixth largest city in the US and there seem to be gays everywhere. There are theme gay bars and drag bars and men’s strip clubs and gay restaurants and the whole of Sodom and Gomorrah by all appearances. There is a “country” gay bar, for all those gays who have a Brokeback Mountain fantasy (and I’ve never met a gay who doesn’t want to be manhandled by Heath Ledger in a tent) and there’s even a gay volleyball court. It seems you could live in Phoenix and never have to interact with heterosexuals at all.
The jobs were both appealing. In Sri Lanka, the job is as a teacher training consultant. It would be very senior and important. And there would be so many colours and elephants and beaches and chilled-out, meditative, zen Sri Lankans. In Phoenix, there was a lecturing post where the main job would be teaching the history of thoughts and ideas to first year undergraduates in small groups. And there would be intellectual debates and adolescent heartache. I feel that both Sri Lankans and Americans would “get” me.
The Sri Lanka job is still undecided. It looks like my application was too late for the Phoenix job. But it’s given me a hunger for job hunting. For the job in Phoenix, I was so excited that I was considering turning it up, not just to eleven, but to thirteen and finishing my PhD in the next three months and just leaving. I mapped out a fabulous life for myself there.
I am torn. I don’t know what date I’ll actually be finished my PhD. It often takes six to nine months after you submit your thesis before you actually finish it. I have debts to pay. And I promised myself that I’d have adventures and that I’d try out writing my book. There’s a lot to think about!
And I can’t stop thinking about now either. I still have a job – I’m teaching on two different courses at the moment. I still have a PhD to do, and I’ve been falling behind again. I’m still an Assistant Warden. And I know I’ve been saying I don’t feel myself around the students this year, but I still love this place. I’m currently involved in an investigation into multiple eggings. And today, I was walking along in the sunshine (and Hall is really beautiful in the sunshine) when a group of students who were sitting on the steps of Oldham House called out to me, and they started serenading me with a mash-up of two different One Direction songs.
But I was beginning to slip into bad habits again. I binged to the point of sickness three times in the last two weeks. I skipped two days of my life as a result. And I got the worst friction burn of my life between my belly and my groin at the weekend, to the extent that I could barely walk on Saturday. I don’t want to be that person again. I prefer 2014 Connor. I’m back on the juice again, trying to turn it back up to eleven.
Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’m very excited and very scared. About the present and the future.