I started my first post-graduation job at Art of Problem Solving this past week. I was an intern here last summer, and I was lucky enough for that to lead to a job. My official role is “Curriculum Developer”. I work on developing their elementary school math curriculum, as that is their current focus. It’s an incredibly good job, with fantastically intelligent and caring people.
While it is a great company whose mission I am deeply invested in, and San Diego is a beautiful place to be, these first few days have been very tough. It was weird driving across the country, having a good time, then suddenly getting to work. I’m living on my own, in a room I’m renting (technically an AirBnB) from a nice lady. I know the area from last summer, but I’m still getting over a mental hurdle of actually going out and doing things. Although at the time I write this I’ll have only been here a few days, I’m already feeling antsy. It’s strange.
Perhaps the biggest reason for my feelings is that I spent my entire life in Minnesota. I am very rooted there, and despite many friends leaving who have also graduated, there are many people I’ve left behind. I’m leaving the comfortable world of academia to work at a place where I have no true connections. It’s a rather isolating feeling that I am working through.
Yet, this is something I correctly anticipated. I have been solidifying Operation: Have a Conversation and Comical Start as ways to keep in contact with people. I’ve reached out to people (or luckily have had them reach out to me) to stay in contact via phone calls or letters. And I also committed to myself that I would write weekly on this blog, and not worry about people reading it. It’s just a good thing to have on my schedule, both for the purpose of self-reflection, and to stop myself from falling idle after I do a day of work.
I already reached out to the San Diego Concert Band, a local community band that has fairly open policies for joining. I’ll be rehearsing with them regularly starting next week, which I am incredibly thrilled for. Although my percussion chops are not what they once were, they will improve and I will be better off for having the experience. I also plan on finding a group (or maybe just a person or two) to try and play tennis with. It’s an easy sport to play as long as you have another person, and I definitely enjoy playing it. Ideally I’d find a softball league as well, and I also have a long book list to get through.
Despite a touch of melancholy and some misgivings on traveling so far, I am excited for what is to come. Knowing that my time here is rather indefinite, I can feel more comfortable finding my place and joining new things. I have more opportunity to be involved and help myself as I go along. It’s an interesting time.