Four years ago today I left academia. This blog first served to help me process that transition so I wanted to check in on this anniversary.
What’s happened in the last four years? I’ve succeeded in establishing a new identity–a performer, writer, and teacher who helps run a comedy theater and training center. I’ve produced a ton of shows and performed in many. I’ve studied writing, acting, and comedy extensively. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with a bunch of talented people and to help others realize their creative dreams on stage.
I still struggle with figuring out exactly what I want to do–trying to set big goals and achieve them. I still deal with stress, anxieties, and frustrations. There are still parts of me that are sad and wish things had worked out in academia (although I recognize that I would have needed to be a fundamentally different person). I’m glad I still have the opportunity to be part of an academic community via my husband.
In the last four years, I’ve cried way less and laughed more (a byproduct of my new career). I’m much happier, and it started the day I left. Like a point of discontinuity, my happiness jumped.
Would I advise leaving academia? It’s definitely a case-by-case situation. Me: yes. My husband: no. For him, academia is awesome! But what I would advise is this: if you have the opportunity to make your life significantly happier, try to take it even though it’s scary to make the leap.
From Wikimedia Commons