As my profile states, I'm a new assistant professor and I've just grinded (not in the good way) through my first four months on the job. It was not unexpected though, and I think it was about the same as what most of the other TT faculty out there experience. I hired graduate students, started setting up a lab, taught a core class, wrote and submitted a grant proposal, signed up to serve at national meetings, etc. The semester did wear me down considerably though, and I thought that maybe I could find some solace and comrades out here on the internet to commiserate with. So I began my search a few days ago, taking advantage of the holiday break, to find other faculty that blog about their academic and personal lives. I found several (which surprised me for some reason) and spent several hours reading their posts. I've listed a few that are especially inspiring or relevant to me on my blogroll. What did strike me though, was that I found fewer male academic bloggers and no male engineering professors. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places (I've only found science related collectives, nothing for engineering) or maybe we as a species are just so introverted that we can't even bring ourselves to post a blog about our lives. If anyone out there knows where the engineers are hiding, please let me know.
One question that might come to mind is why have I turned to the internet? The answer is simple. I can't find anyone on my campus to relate to. (Non sequitur: I keep ending my sentences with prepositions,which bothers me when I see it written, and probably some of you out there as well, but this is how I speak and I don't want this blog to turn into a writing assignment for me.) I am a married male, in my late twenties, and have no plans or inclinations to have children. I'm not religious. My wife has the same views. We both just moved to New England, having never lived here before, and we have no family or friends in the area. I enjoy quite a few different sports and activities, and even follow professional sports. I thought it would be relatively easy to find other faculty on campus with some similar interests and to make some new friends. This has not turned out to be the case. Most people are from the area originally, almost everyone has kids or is trying to, and no one seems to even have time to go out to lunch. The few colleagues in the college that I have gone out to lunch with required scheduling two weeks out, and even then a few times needed rescheduling. I know faculty are busy people, so am I, but this seems strange. Am I that abnormal as a professor? As a Ph.D. student and postdoc I never had this problem. Anyway, I'm going to try to post my thoughts on this site to help get past the isolation that I feel in my life and maybe I can find some kindred spirits out here.