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Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Running the Gauntlet
I am positively exhausted. My feet hurt from wearing the terribly cute Mary-Janes for two days straight. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. My brain hurts from having dozens of conversations, from describing my research countless times, from trying to think of new and interesting questions to ask different people. Overall, though, I feel good about how my first on-campus interview went this week.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon and had dinner with a few faculty members, which was nice and low-key. The next morning I taught a class (at 8:00am no less, and although I did not get the students' names beforehand, I did ask them their names and remembered 9 of them, much to my own surprise), went to meeting with individual faculty members on the half hour until lunch, had lunch with students, met with the provost, went on a short campus tour with a student, came back to the department for more half-hour meetings, had a half hour break, presented my research, and then went to dinner with two faculty members. I was so drained. I think I fell asleep immediately as my head hit the pillow.

Today was great, too. I met with the rest of the faculty, met with faculty in other departments, had an amazing conversation with a faculty member in my foreign language who said he wished I was a candidate in his department (which made me laugh -- "If I had a say in it, you'd be hired already!" he said), had lunch with three more students who were incredibly sweet and asked good questions, met with yet MORE faculty members, and then was driven to the airport by a willing student. So, overall, I think the visit went well.

I know the department has invited two other candidates to interview for this job; one is coming at the end of this week, and another the beginning of next week. Whoever gets this job will be very fortunate: the department is the largest on campus, is well-supported by the college, the benefits are OUTRAGEOUSLY (jaw-droppingly?) good, the base salary is about $5,000 higher than I imagined it would be, and the opportunities for doing cool, interdisciplinary research are literally endless. The students are dedicated and seem to be pretty passionate about the place, and the faculty in the department genuinely like each other. I know that no job is perfect and that things aren't always as they seem, but I have to say that I am pretty darned impressed by the whole package I saw in these last few days. If I got this job, I can easily see myself staying there for the rest of my career. Honestly. It's the kind of place where you can settle in and do really great work. (And it doesn't hurt that the campus is heartbreakingly beautiful.)

The chair said that they'd like to have their decision made by December. At any rate, I'll probably hear something one way or another while I'm in Europe. And -- YIKES -- I'm leaving for Europe in exactly one week. One week from now I'll be on a plane bound for Munich.

It is nice to have this interview behind me now, and it's nice to have the experience of doing one of these, whether I get the job or not. I had no idea it was going to be so full-on, so tiring, so demanding. I felt really great at the beginning of the first day, really sharp -- but by the time my research presentation came around, my mind had turned to applesauce. If I had to change one thing about the experience, I would have requested that the teaching and research happen on different days because it really was a lot to do in a single shot. Of course, it did mean that today was pretty painless, which was nice.

Tonight, I arrived at my hometown airport and began looking for T and ST. They weren't there and it made me sad. I went to retrieve my bags and then came back up to the main terminal, looking for them. All of a sudden, I saw a shock of blond hair and heard a little voice yelling, "Mommmmm! Mom! It's me!" and saw ST hurtling toward me, arms outstretched. My heart swelled as I hugged my sweet little boy, and he covered my face with kisses. "Oh, Mom, I missed you!" he said. If only he knew how much I missed him, if only he could understand how much longer our next separation will be!

It is good to be home, even if it is only for another short week. Then November. And then, a return to normalcy.

A question for those with experience: I'm obviously going to write thank-you notes. Do I write one to EACH person? Separately? I met well over twenty people, and I'd also like to thank the students I met. What to do here?
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 10/25/2005 09:47:00 PM  
3 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 12:41 AM, Blogger phd me said…

    Wow. What a crazy schedule to manage when you're trying to impress people with your verve and bright shiny intellect. Sounds like everything went well, though - that's fantastic!

    I'm curious to hear what people say about thank-you notes, too. Good question!

  • At 6:03 PM, Blogger Demetri said…

    I had a feeling that it would go well. I hope they give you an offer, talk about a cool thing.

  • At 8:19 PM, Blogger BrightStar said…

    I just wrote one to the search committee, but then some separate emails to specific people I wanted to follow up with regarding research interests. It's interesting that they interviewed already but won't make the decision for another month.

    It sounds like it went well. YAY!

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