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Quote of the Day
Saturday, August 12, 2006
We have really gotten to know our neighbors to the left of us quickly, since they have children who eagerly wait to play with ST every day. They are wonderful people: she (Darcy) is a stay-at-home mom, and he (Luke) is a physician. They are about ten years older than we are. I've chatted with them every day this week for several hours each time, and they've been a tremendous help to us as we get to know our new city.

Darcy and Luke are very interested in what I do and have asked all sorts of questions about my work. Luke knows a few of my colleagues, since the medical group he works for is in the provider network for our university health insurance. Darcy and I were talking yesterday and she said, "Luke was so excited to meet you because he said it was nice to meet an academic who was normal." I laughed at this because I know that academics are a pretty eccentric group, but I keep thinking about that comment.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too "normal" to be an academic at all. I really like what I do, I like to teach and like to research, and I think I'm pretty decent at both. But I'm definitely not one of those academic-work-is-everything types, and I never will be. My family and my life outside of the university will always come first. Luke said that a lot of his female patients are academics, and none of them have children. He said they're married to their research. That's just not who I am and not who I want to be. My research is interesting, sure, but it's nothing compared to the adventure of raising a child or two, and it certainly won't have the same impact that sending a well-adjusted child out into the world will.

"Normal." I suppose that's a compliment. I just hope that "normal" (and add to that "happy" and "content at last") will serve me well as I begin chugging along the tenure track.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 8/12/2006 02:40:00 PM  
3 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 3:56 PM, Blogger Peri said…

    This post is why I enjoy reading your blog so much. You do sound so normal and I love that. I often fear I'm not married enough to my work (despite the fact that I love it) and thus I won't be 'one of the cool kids' in academia. Yet I want a family life that approximates my own rather traditional upbringing. It's all about balance and I think your neighbors are complimenting you on yours!

  • At 7:21 PM, Blogger phd me said…

    Definitely a compliment! Have you seen some of us nuts hanging out in the hallways? :)

    I understand what you mean about not fitting in, though. I'm not sure I do, either, but for different reasons. I don't have anything at home giving me the balance you have, so I would fall into Luke's "work-is-everything" category - for lack of anything else in my life. I'm not mentally married to my work, though, and I feel like an outsider sometimes because I lack the passion (obsessiveness?) that others have for their work.

    So, yay, you're a personable academic who knows how to balance work and family to the benefit of both. Personally, I think that makes you rather special.

  • At 7:01 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    Oh, I love this post and the comments.

    I agree that it's a compliment. If I ever become an academic, I'm sure I'll look "normal" as well... I'm just too social, too friendly to really fit in. But hopefully there'll be a few others like me I can hang out with!!

    Nothing feels greater than breaking some stereotypes, right? Being an academic and a wife, mother and friendly neighbor!!

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