Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Next 2 Years of My Life (or so)

I sometimes forget to tell people things. Mostly it's because if I tell my sister a story more than once she screams at me and tells me that I'm always telling her the same story. SO sometimes I forget to tell people things because I'm afraid I already told them and because they aren't my sister they'll politely listen while in their head thinking "I ALREADY HEARD THIS LADY!" So this is my effort to keep everyone in the loop with my near future plans so hopefully nothing will be a surprise when it happens and you can't say I didn't tell you. Ok? Good.

So currently I am in my second and final year of course work for my PhD. I went for a year part-time before transitioning to full time last year. Our program is a 3 year PhD program where you do two years of course work and then spend one year working on your dissertation start to finish. So in theory my half year should have put me a little ahead and I could be taking it easy, but since workaholic mania runs in my family, I am instead taking more credits than average rather than less. Go figure. I can't help it! I like to learn! That is why I am getting a PhD.

So I will be all done with my classes after next spring (2010). I will then take and pass my qualifying exams (notice the positive thinking!) sometime in May or June. Hopefully by then I will have successfully written a proposal for and secured funding for my dissertation research. I will then present my Dissertation Proposal to my committee for approval, and in July I will be jetting off to Nigeria for 6 months.

Yes I said Nigeria, and yes I said 6 months, and no I am not crazy. I have a minor in African studies and my primary research interests lie in Africa-related issues around sexuality so I could not even pretend to call myself an African researcher if I had not "done my time" in Africa. Since I am most familiar and comfortable with Nigeria, and most of my interests lie in Nigeria specifically, I naturally will be doing my research in Nigeria. With this summer's fortunate meeting of the M's it also makes me feel even more comfortable about this quest and I hope to be enmeshed within the Benin City & the University community.

I will be in Nigeria from approximately right after 4th of July to right before Christmas. Since I get to control my research I also get to control when I go and return. I don't like missing holidays with my family, so other than Thanksgiving and my sister and father's birthdays I will miss minimal stuff. I will be in Benin working on my research and doing on-going analysis while there. After I return home I will spend the Spring Semester 2011 finishing my analysis and writing for my dissertation and then finally successfully defending my dissertation and becoming Dr. Briggs sometime in May 2011.

In the midst of all of the above I will also be looking for a job for after graduation. I will be setting my sights primarily on medium sized universities where I can have an emphasis on research. I'll be looking at large and small universities as well, and maybe even some non-academic positions but I hope to work at somewhere not too big and not too small and have lots of freedom to work on my research as I wish. We'll see how that goes. As far as location, I am not opposed to staying in Indiana completely, but I don't think that the outlook is good for job prospects. There are not many universities in Indiana that do sex-related research besides IU. It's not to say that if there were positions available I wouldn't apply, but the reality is, the chances are slim. Outside of Indiana I am focusing on the West Coast primarily and a few select locations on the East Coast and in the South. The rest of the country kind of sucks because it is either A) way too cold or B) way too far from a beach. Warmth and ocean access are two of my highest priorities. We'll see how it goes.

After that the picture starts to get a little fuzzy. I'm trying to take it a few months at a time and readjust as necessary. If there is a major change of course, you'll hear it here first!


Leslie Reed said...

miss my birthday???? at least you noted that it was important!

Jennifer Kerner said...

This was really cool. And informative. And every time I hear someone say "wow, Lindsay is really fortunate to do this or that" I often think, "actually, she deserves it."