I’ve been to a local academic conference today. I was supposed to present an original paper. I didn’t have the strength to write one, so I read a chapter from my completed dissertation. No one cared, obviously. I was shocked to receive one informed question on the subject of my presentation – it’s not typical that my obscure papers on highly unsavoury topics inspire anyone to ask anything. I also received a lot of questions as to what an “independent researcher” is. It’s a nice term for an unemployed academic. Means that not only you earn nothing for your work, but you pay to be able to work.
The purpose of my attendance at the conference was mostly meant to be therapeutic. A change of routine. There were also some sentimental reasons, a throwback to the period a while ago when I was actually excited about the academic world. In the light of later developments – including that jobs in academia aren’t distributed based on merit and that academics earn about as much as supermarket cashiers – I can’t say I feel quite the same level of excitement anymore. Finally, I went to the conference to flaunt my new “design”, as a colleague aptly put it. I’m obviously extremely conceited and concerned with appearances. I admit to this shameful quality shamelessly.
As I’ve been feeling like I’m dying recently, I thought I might just as well start working my way down my bucket list. Starting with a tattoo (pictured, because I’m conceited) and going on with me having half my head shaved (not pictured, sorry). I was pleased to earn some raised eyebrows and a number of comments on my (lack of) hair. If you’re considering having half your head shaved off, you should know what nobody tells you – half your head will be freezing off. Other than that, I recommend it. I’ll probably shave off the rest soon, so I can sell my hairdryer, save on hair products and save the time it takes to style half my head.