I cleared out my PhD office at Edinburgh Napier University today. It was a bit of a strange feeling as I know that I will be back in the office a few more times before the end of the year as I finish up a project that I am working on with my colleague, Gemma. But at the same time, I’ve left. I am no longer a PhD student. I am no longer an associate lecturer. I am no longer a regular employee, although I am still listed as associate staff whilst I do some mop-up work. But mop-up work isn’t quite the same, and the paycheques have ceased!
When I left, I did so without fanfare. There were no goodbyes. There were no “we’ll miss yous”. There were no leaving drinks; no emails to alert people of my change in circumstances. I just… left. And that lack of fanfare left me feeling quite deflated. It left me feeling that my time at Napier was inconsequential; like I am not/was not an integral part of the Napier Machine. (I know that’s not true, really, I do!)
And I am still kind of there. Or at least, I will be around for occasional meetings over the next few months. That means I will still be interacting with folks from my research group, which would make “goodbye” seem silly. Although once my project there is done, I suppose I will just silently fade into the past; I will just be someone that folks “used to know”. (There will be some connections that continue, I hope!)
But, alas, this is another part of my story. I have to leave Napier so that I can go to the next thing. I have to leave Napier so that I can build my academic career out there in the Big Bad World. Indeed, I have already gone on to the next thing through my post-doc in Dundee. And I am actively applying for other posts in the UK and further afield. Oh, and I have applied for a small pot of funding for a small project with one of my Napier colleagues, so my actual departure might be delayed a bit longer.
Anyhow… now that I have boxed up my Napier office, I have to start working on putting my home office. That is where I will spend most of my Dundee hours, as I will only commute twice per week. It is also where I will work on applications for other jobs.
Of course, that task will have to wait just a bit. Because I am leaving for my summer holidays to The Homeland tomorrow. This also means that I don’t have to think about the sadness of clearing out my office and moving on with my life. For now, at least! It also means that I will have to go through all of the contents from my office after my holidays. So I suppose the clear-out isn’t complete quite yet!
Update: I returned to Napier on a permanent contract in late-2021, after completing another post-doc at the University of Aberdeen. And because I was still (sort of) at Napier when COVID hit, I never completely emptied my PhD office there (making the move into my new office easier).