Anthony Scopatz

I think, therefore I amino acid.

The Once and Future Pumpkin

My Halloween kinda sucked. For some stupid reason a conference paper draft deadline was at midnight.. So guess who got to work 12 hours that day. I submitted the paper at 10:45pm. Needless to say, it did not leave a lot of time for partying.

But with the help of Anne, we did manage to salvage the night. We carved a pumpkin, cooked the seeds, and then watched some Golden Girls. As my ninja carrot friend in Madison consoled me later, “The Golden Girls make everything right.


But onto WHY I was working all throughout my favorite secular holiday. My future gets decided, soon. Which is very very stressful. For those of you who didn’t know, I am supposed to graduate from UT in May. I am not convinced that this will happen. Nor am I convinced that it will occur by August (my adviser’s revised date). In any case, the professors are all making noises that it is coming soon.

There is a 95% chance that when I graduate, I leave Austin as well. Now what this means exactly is rather unclear. Where will I go? Who will I work for? How much money will I make? Will I be in the country? At a university? At a national lab? Will I move to a more technical track or will I get slotted into policy? Will I still be collaborating with this broadening research group?

The short answer to these is, “Fuck if I know…” What ever happens, I will probably be traveling as much as ever. So the 4+ months that I spend outside of Texas will be flipped. I am probably going to be around Austin at least a few weeks out of the year. One of those weeks you can count your pretty pennies on (read: Flipside).

One of the professors in my department recommended me trying to become the one really technical policy nuclear engineer out there. He has an interesting idea. I have the knack for it on all sides. And it is sort of a non-standard gig, so I could probably really make a name for myself. Which is essential for entering the world of Academe proper.

Ok, no biggie right? No. I haven’t had a face to face meeting with my adviser in over a month. The ones we try to have keep getting moved around and rescheduled. I have the (unjustifiable) feeling that he might be avoiding me. I think that they call it abandonment.

I mean, I have more than enough work to do. But I am getting nervous. What are my contributions to the field going to be? Am I worth it? Can I be a technical policy leader? What will that kind of prestige cost? Am I willing to pay it? I know understand the phrase, “Dare to Dream”.

Dreams are scary…