One year ago today my degree was officially awarded and I realized that finally, after six years of work, I had something to show for it. That all that work actually had amounted to something and couldn’t be taken away from me at that point. For the last week I’ve been thinking that I would sit down today and reflect on the last year and check it with how I felt then versus how I feel now, but honestly, I also kind of don’t want to. Aside from this being the first free weekend I’ve had in five weeks (and not been so sick that I could barely leave the bed), so much of my time while getting my degree was spent thinking about the overarching nature of it, how it could be better, etc. Even though it’s been a year now, I actually still don’t think I’m ready to do that.
I now work at Magic Leap (the augmented reality headset company) as a Computer Vision Engineer specializing in 3D Reconstruction. It’s good. It’s different. The commute sucks, but other than that I love it. I’d like to write about my work here more, but I’m still figuring out what I can and can’t talk about publicly (mostly nothing!). I still struggle with imposter syndrome. I still struggle with not feeling like my work is creative enough to really call myself a “scientist.” I’m really struggling with work life balance these days. I’m good at my job though and have made some substantial contributions already even though I’ve only been there a little over three months (although two weeks of that was holidays). I’m not sure what it’ll take to one day snap me out of that.
It’s going to take a little while longer before I can really take the step back I want to be able to and objectively look at my time since my PhD. I tell people who ask that getting my PhD was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but for all the wrong reasons. That stress molded me in ways that I didn’t ever want to be molded and that’s going to take a while to undo, to reverse, to remold into something more akin to a functioning human. I’m not ready to unpack that stuff just yet.
Although some soul searching will one day be in order, a much better way to spend today I think is doing things that I love that *aren’t* science related: woodworking (which I’ve had almost no time for since starting the new gig), drawing, fun lunch, cold beer, and spending time with my wonderful girlfriend. There will be time yet to look back on the days since my degree, but I think some goddamn fun is in order first.