The end of my PhD is near, so what’s next?

I have just finished writing the last chapter of data analysis for my thesis. Now I need to write the conclusion and abstract, update my literature review, and do some final revisions then the printing and binding of four copies. Technically I have until March 2015 to submit, so if I haven’t managed to find a job this (Australian) summer, I’ll at least still have student status for a while longer. You’re probably thinking that I could finish in no time since I don’t have much left to do, but I have about seven jobs right now – more than half are actually volunteer positions – so I can’t exactly work on my thesis every single day. Plus turning my chapters into manuscripts to submit to journals takes a while, but needs to be done sooner rather than later since finding an academic job without having research publications is very difficult.

This may or may not be the same size as my stack of data and thesis copies...

This may or may not be the same size as my stack of data sets and thesis copies… [Photo Credit: gadl via Compfight cc]

I love all of my jobs though and wouldn’t give any of them up without a fight. The most time-consuming right now is teaching three classes this semester: first year French, second year French, and a tutorial on intercultural communication. I am a tiny bit obsessed with finding and creating fun speaking and vocabulary activities for my French students (see exhibit A: my Teaching French at Uni board on Pinterest).

I’m in Brisbane this week for the 1,600 delegate-strong AILA World Congress (the most important applied linguistics conference in the world!) and then I’m off to Sydney in October for the Easter Island exhibition that I’m co-curating as well as Taiwan in December to present at the Pacific History Association conference.

I’m also an assistant editor of the Journal of New Zealand & Pacific Studies which publishes two issues a year and has an annual conference in Europe, for which I’m an organiser, as part of the New Zealand Studies Association. (We’ll be in Vienna in July 2015, btw.) Add to those being the student representative for PhD students in my School (I get to complain on behalf of all of the students! I love complaining!), a research assistant, and webmaster of five websites, and hopefully you will understand why I have very little free time these days.

My current student visa expires in October 2015 and I’m still a little unclear as to whether the Department of Immigration changes the expiration date if your degree is conferred before your candidature is up. (It seems that international undergrads who finish their degrees early only have 28 days before they must leave the country.) I’m crossing my fingers that a visa-sponsoring academic job in Australia or New Zealand is available for next year but I’m also trying to prepare for the worst, i.e. packing up everything and moving across the ocean at my own expense for the third time in my life.

Plan B is submitting an expression of interest to obtain a resident visa for New Zealand since university lecturer is currently on the Long Term Skill Shortage List. Plan C is putting my stuff in storage, having friends look after Charlie and basically hanging out in Honolulu or LA until I can find a permanent way back to this part of the world. Just as one language will never be enough for me, one nationality and one passport will never be enough either.

I’ll post a summary of my time at AILA next week, but in the meantime I’m tweeting about the presentations and plenaries I’m attending and you can also check out the hashtag #AILA2014.

  • Good luck, Jennie! I hope you find something. I think you’d be an excellent academic and you seem to really like Australia, so I’m rooting for you to be able to stay there. And congratulations on finishing your PhD, especially since you’ve done so in a timely manner (I know American students who have taken over a decade to do so and who were not nearly as busy as you are, LOL).

    • Thanks Natalie! Luckily PhDs in Australia are 4 years maximum (for full-time; 8 years for part-time) so it’s rare to be stuck in a never-ending PhD unlike the situation in the US sometimes… I hope I can find a job here too. I so do not want to move again!


    I took a peek at your Pinterest– wow, your students are lucky to have a teacher like you!

    How did you end up curating an exhibit? Have you ever done it before? That’s really cool.

    • Thanks! I do spend a ridiculous amount of time on lesson planning and creating speaking activities so I hope my students appreciate it.

      The exhibit was mostly just being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people. I haven’t curated an exhibit before. It’s fun but exhausting!

  • letsflow

    Go to New Zealand, that is a great place to live…trust me, don’t waste time in L.A.

  • Gaetano

    Hi Jennie,

    I found you when looking for info about France’s tax. You have given several important point about cost of living as well as how you have done to live in those 2 countries.

    I’ve been in Nz, Australia, Canada and now in France. I moved from Venezuela, country that is not doing really great, but I fell when I learn about the bad sides of each country and I move to other looking for better quality of living, things get rough for me.

    One thing is rate a country as student, and other as a worker. I love Nz because its people, nature that amused me. I like Australia after studied, worked and traveled (4×4 adventures and driven more that 35.000 Kms by car) I felt somehow, free. Canada, difficult to rate at its all because I stayed in the province of Quebec, great opportunities but difficult to find a good job (a bit of discrimination) and really cold weather. I’ve been under -35 C and it is not funny.

    So, to answer your question, “what’s next?”, I’d say check what do you really want in life but also don’t let good jobs opportunities go. I’d stay in Australia and find a well pay job in your area. Nz works as well but if you don’t like nature you could get bored after some years.

    And as you may know, Europe is the best place for languages but you need to be lucky to find a good job