On the morning of September 12th, I need to be in Toronto.
Between now and then, however, I actually don’t have any firm commitments. This raises the question of how to spend the time.
Plan 1: Safe and responsible
Move and apply to doctoral programs
I need to move to Toronto and applications to doctoral programs for the fall of 2012 are due this fall. I could stay in Ottawa and put together a research proposal. I could chase down people to serve as references. I could visit Toronto to look at apartments, choose one, and ship my things over.
I could also work on the great many semi-complete tasks that tend to get buried underneath trivial day-to-day stuff while I am working.
Plan 2: More adventurous
I could also push the moving stuff into the smallest amount of time possible and get myself a 30-day unlimited Greyhound ticket. I could go to New York City on my way to New Orleans. I could take photos, visit the campuses of schools I might apply to, and take advantage of the longest unstructured span of time I have had since Oxford.
Lately, I have been feeling a bit untethered and uncertain about what I should do with myself. I am dispirited by the way recent efforts to drive action on climate change have failed so completely in North America in recent years. Having some time spent in solitary travel could allow me to think things through, and perhaps reach a sense of clarity about how I should spend the next few years.
This would probably mean pushing back doctoral applications, but it might be unreasonable to aim for this fall anyhow. I need to write the GRE and do a pile of work. I am also not totally sure if a doctorate is really what I want to do.
So, readers, which plan do you endorse? Do you have other ideas?
One element that is common to both plans is my intention to go to Washington D.C. for the Stop the Pipeline Sit-In being organized by Bill McKibben, James Hansen, and others. As well as being a good opportunity to see climate change activism in person, it could provide some contacts and empirical data for subsequent academic work.