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Author Topic: Did you take up a hobby after you finished?  (Read 15829 times)
rose_fingered_dawn
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« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2012, 9:29:01 AM »

I'll offer my cooking skillz to you via the fora.  I can teach you the 5 mother sauces and give you homework that will include small dicing 10 lbs of onions and making chicken stock. 

I would love to know the recipes for the five mother sauces!
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infopri
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« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2012, 9:47:39 AM »

I'm confused. Everyone always told me that life would get really busy after graduating and finding a job, not the other way around. Are they all out to scare me then?

No, they are telling you the truth.  Life during the first year on the TT, especially, can make doctoral study almost look leisurely, especially depending on where you end up.  But for some of us, there was a window (for some folks very, very short, for some of us a bit longer) between the doctoral whirl and the first-job whirl (whether it's TT, post-doc, or whatever) when, for the first time in years, you have no pressing professional responsibilities, and it's a wonderful feeling.

The first thing I did was sleep 8 hours a night again. It took some getting used to.

Here I am, six years out from the Ph.D., looking forward to sleeping 8 hours a night again (instead of closer to eight hours a week, during the week).

It's been a long, hard semester.
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anorak
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« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2012, 10:01:04 AM »

Life during the first year on the TT, especially, can make doctoral study almost look leisurely, especially depending on where you end up. 

I did most of my dissertation research and writing from home.  I took frequent writing breaks to take a walk around the block, poke around in the garden, or do an odd chore here and there.  I think that helped me feel less stressed.

At a campus interview this season, though, I was asked in casual conversation if I'd had time to take up any hobbies since finishing the dissertation.
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treehugger1
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« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2012, 10:06:38 AM »

For years, I've been envisioning the "free-time" I'll have upon finishing. Now I'm realizing I have to stay in the game and work on articles, revise the dissertation, teach, etc. And still, I have an inkling of hope that I'll be able to pursue something else. First on my list is to actually read--that is, read something not immediately related to my dissertation. That said, I always thought I'd learn the violin. Now I'm thinking I'm being silly and overly ambitious. I have no reason to think I'm musically inclined and I'm guessing this will take up way more time than I have. I also kind of believe the idea that "old dogs can't learn new tricks."

Anyway, I'm wondering if it is possible to take up new hobbies after the weight of being a graduate student has been lifted. My defense if May 9th. My graduation is a month after. And teaching is done. I can't even imagine what I'll do to fill the time.

One of my committee members warned me that many students experience some depression after they finish--a sort of post-partum depression--because this thing that has filled their days (and their thoughts) for so long is now over, and they don't know what to do next.  I reassured her that I'd be so relieved to be done that I wouldn't have that problem.  Much to my surprise, though, I did experience some of what she was talking about.  So be prepared for that.

I experienced this let-down right after my defense. I had the defense,  went out to dinner with my advisor and a friend, then went back to my hotel room and cried my eyes out for an hour. But that was it. Just one hour of mourning and then a wonderful awakening to a new life.

Since finishing, I've taken up many hobbies (reading/singing/birding), but I'm not longer in academia, so I can hardly hold myself up as a role model.
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westcoastgirl
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« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2012, 12:11:58 PM »

Thanks for the advice and encouragement, everyone!

Ex-mo, I would love to learn your recipes!

Most of my dissertation work has taken place in a very cold library (for some reason the air seems to be on all the time). We own a lot of the major tomes, but there's no way I could work exclusively at home.
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marigolds
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i had fun once and it was awful


« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2012, 12:19:36 PM »

I plan to read a bunch of trashy novels, and things that are COMPLETELY USELESS for my work.  And to take up sewing with a vengeance. And start cooking again.

IT's going to be awesome.
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madhatter
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Just killing time


« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2012, 2:08:03 PM »

I didn't pick up any new hobbies, but I did eventually teach myself to read for pleasure, watch TV, play games, or sleep without feeling guilty. That was hard.
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« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2012, 2:15:03 PM »

Great suggestions!

Honestly, I'd love to learn how to cook. Yes, I can muddle my way through a meal, but it's never consistent or great.

UO: That's great about the cello. Do you have to practice daily?

I think maybe I'll start with one of my daughters. There are plenty of student instructors in the music department.

Practice daily?!  Hah.  I do aim for 4-5 times a week, and failed terribly this week.  It's easier to get the practice in if I tell myself that 5 minutes at a time is OK.  

I should confess that I had about 10 years of piano lessons as a child.  Though I never was a particularly good pianist, I can read music quite easily and have a good ear for pitch, which I'm sure is helpful with the cello.  But that's not to say that you couldn't learn to play because you didn't learn as a child.  My husband started piano lessons when my daughter did (and I started cello when same daughter started), and he had NO musical background whatsoever.  My kid is making faster progress than either of us, but who cares?

Edited to add:
Learning to cook sounds like a fantastic idea!  I'm totally self-taught (mom never taught me) - from reading cookbooks, watching TV and eating. 

« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 2:16:26 PM by unoriginal » Logged
zyzzx
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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2012, 8:27:16 PM »

I had two glorious months off after I finished. Immediately after the defense was crazy time - I had less than two weeks to do my revisions and pack up everything to move out of town. But then I couldn't start my postdoc until I got a work permit, and I couldn't apply for a work permit until I had my diploma, which took a wonderfully long time.

I spent a month traveling overseas, then a month hanging with my siblings and all their little kids and preparing for my overseas move.

Then I moved halfway around the world. I figure the resulting cultural adjustment and the tons of opportunities to play the tourist over here have taken the place of a new hobby.

I've actually found postdoc life pretty relaxing (except when I'm stressing about not being able to find a TT job), but I don't teach, or really have any responsibilities at all.
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totoro
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2012, 8:39:05 PM »

I'm confused. Everyone always told me that life would get really busy after graduating and finding a job, not the other way around. Are they all out to scare me then?

I would say that my pace of work as a grad student and afterwards has always been about the same, it's getting busier now if anything as a full prof. The final rush over a few months to complete my research and submit my dissertation was crazy. I got my PhD in less than 4 years and was already a post-doc when I submitted. My boss wanted it out of the way as soon as possible. After that I could relax a bit more and go back to things I did before the last few crazy months like cycling.
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pink_
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« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2012, 8:39:29 PM »

I'm confused. Everyone always told me that life would get really busy after graduating and finding a job, not the other way around. Are they all out to scare me then?

No, they are telling you the truth.  Life during the first year on the TT, especially, can make doctoral study almost look leisurely

Sadly, this is the truth. I long for the salad days of grad school before I understood the meaning of "service."
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janewales
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« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2012, 11:22:23 PM »


I had two kids-- does that count?

Seriously, I went straight from grad school into motherhood and the tenure track at a research-intensive place, so hobbies weren't really in the cards. Now, my kids are grown, I'm a full professor, and I derive enormous pleasure from two hobbies. I'm a long-distance runner: I have never been any good, but I am very, very persistent, and so have racked up an impressive number of races (we won't talk about the times).

I also returned to the piano. I was pretty advanced when I was young, but had spent decades not taking it seriously. Now I have the occasional problem with arthritic fingers, but it's still wonderful to be back to serious musical work. Both running and music are great for managing stress, of which there's still plenty even now. I think that's the take-away point here. The life of an academic is often crowded and pressured; it's great to think early about the things you can do to take the edge off, because otherwise the job can really consume you.
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macaroon
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2012, 11:30:16 PM »

. Both running and music are great for managing stress, of which there's still plenty even now. I think that's the take-away point here. The life of an academic is often crowded and pressured; it's great to think early about the things you can do to take the edge off, because otherwise the job can really consume you.


This was advice that was given to me BEFORE I headed to grad school.  Start a hobby early on, so that way, when grad school wasn't going well, I could make progress in my personal life. 

Music and running.  When things are going badly at work, I run more and learn a new piece.  It keeps me going.
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2012, 7:31:02 AM »

I'm confused. Everyone always told me that life would get really busy after graduating and finding a job, not the other way around. Are they all out to scare me then?

No, they are telling you the truth.  Life during the first year on the TT, especially, can make doctoral study almost look leisurely

Sadly, this is the truth. I long for the salad days of grad school before I understood the meaning of "service."

Well, I'll start my first TT position in the fall.  However, I've been full-time faculty for three years and that has included service to the department, the university, and the profession.  I'll say that the eight years post-PhD have been about the same as graduate school--very busy at the start of a new project when I have no clue and a vertical learning curve on everything, fairly steady work after the first few months when I can get into a routine.
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girasol
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2012, 9:09:03 AM »

Start any hobbies? During my cross-county move over the summer and throughout my first year on the TT, I gave up the nurturing hobbies I'd relied upon during the diss to maintain my sanity: gardening, knitting, reading fiction, and learning how to cook thai food. I dream of hobbies now. Facing a summer of research travel to three countries and prep for two new courses in fall, I open the back closet every week or so and fondle the yarn I'll never be able to use--or at least not until June 2013, when year two is done.

Every spare moment I have is spent on grading, lecture prep, writing, and occasionally hugging my husband.
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