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Health

'I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.'

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumSeptember 7, 2007 9:38 PM

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* Friday Trivia: Who Said That? * On Tuesday, I explained it's Hip to be Geek, but there's another side to the academic life that's more difficult... the moving part. Those of us pursuing the sciences have this pesky habit of skipping around the globe from one pursuit to the next driven by curiosity to understand the natural world. We love what we do, but it's bittersweet. While whisking off to the next exotic (or not so glamorous) locale is quite a romantic notion -- the thing is, somewhere along the way all this traveling makes home a confusing concept.

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As you read this, my good friend Sam is on the open road somewhere between North Carolina and California to pursue his graduate degree. Yet another spectacular cameo appearance in my life. You see, in following our whims to explore new places and achieve academic goals, we must also leave the families we create behind. Or perhaps, eventually they leave us behind. And it can be hard. In 27 years, I've lived in five states and grown to love every one. Each has afforded new friends, stories, experiences, cultures, and contributed to my ever-evolving perspective on what really matters. The fishermen who kept me company in Maine are quite distinct from the policymakers on Capitol Hill and the classic rock radio personalities in North Carolina. I've noticed there are also universal similarities and values that shine through no matter where we are. Incarnations of friendship and community are universal. And as we academics are constantly in transition, our family grows and changes. We attend as many 'going away' parties as birthdays and weekends are often spent helping friends pack and unpack apartments. Far too many goodbyes -- but so it goes. Still, I don't ask for sympathy. Fact is, we live this way because we love what we do. Life is an adventure and we're constantly wandering in all sorts of interesting directions. I value this freedom -- at least for the time being. Of course there is one exceptional redeeming factor with all this moving... an extended family to watch over us wherever we find ourselves in the world. And there's nothing like seeing an old friend again. So to Sam Boyarsky, traveling this very day across the US to his new home in Santa Cruz... Good luck old chap. Our paths will cross again soon undoubtedly. Living the academic lifestyle, they always do.

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