I am currently really fed up with university and still do not have my BSc degree yet of which I am completing the last few parts beside my job in the sloppiest way possible. Hence currently it is 100% clear for me to continue right away in the private (business) sector after my BSc for which I needed also already three semesters more than the usual programme length.

Still I was reading through several threads of the Academia board and I follow them with admiration. Basically Academia jobs consist of writing papers all the time (of course then hopefully with your own research results instead of just recycling stuff of others) and I wonder how to stay motivated in such a sector since almost every seminar paper that I had to write ground my gears.

I have to add that a Prof of my university gave me a bit of an insight how a university career looks like and since then to me the academic sector seems to be inflexible, strictly hierarchic and full of anachronisms like its archaic structure (but maybe this traits are only the case for our Austrian universities).

I wanted to open my mind and read others experiences of people that work in the academic sector. What was your motivation to work in the academic sector? Were you once in the situation I currently experience?

I have talked with a friend that was the best in class PhD student at top a 200 university in USA, but she couldn’t find any position as assistant professor position or fellowship in top 20 university.

  • Is it even possible to do this transition?

  • What is taken under consideration when one makes such application?

This is not the most characteristic question to mathoverflow, but unfortunately, I doubt that I am the only one facing this problem in our profession, so I think that it does bear some relevance to the research community.

Like many others, I did not get a tenure-track position right out of grad school. I have been moving from university to university across the US for the past few years, sometimes in the capacity of a postdoc, and sometimes in a junior (non-tenure-track) faculty position. (Many of these universities have top math departments, at varying levels; some in the top 10.)

Alas, as I move from one university to the next, my spouse is finding it harder and harder to get a full-time position each time we move. I am currently earning well, but not enough to support a spouse and kids. We’re seeing our savings not-so-slowly disappear.

My question is — what sort of “odd jobs” can someone in my position do to earn money on the side, while my spouse finds his or her bearings (yet again!) in the new location? Note that it is important that these be jobs that are sufficiently flexible that I would be able to do them while still functioning in my current university. I have excellent research (though not sufficient to have gotten a tenure-track position by now), and excellent teaching skills. While I do research in abstract Mathematics, I am also reasonably proficient in statistics and programming.

Are there natural answers to this questions that I have not thought about? Ones that are specific to people in our community? How should one go about getting these odd jobs?

In this year I will become occupied with finding and applying for 3rd-party funds for academic research projects (architectural and urban design) for a department at a university in Austria. I have no experience in that field. One of the projects has developed from my own master’s thesis which I completed last year. The other projects are from phd candidates.

How much effort is 3rd-party fund raising for ongoing architectural design (non-engineering) and urban design research projects in Europe and more specifically in Austria? Are there any rules of thumb or is there a guide how to estimate this effort? Secondly, what factors impact the effort most?

My professor’s note says

There will be a partial exam on the 12th of the month and the results will be announced on the 9th

I guess there could be two interpretations:

  1. There will be a partial exam on the 9th of the month and the results will be announced on the 12th

  2. There will be a partial exam on the 12th of the month and the results will be announced on the 19th

Of course I prepared as if the exam will take place the 9th (1st option), but I’m thinking, what should be the “right behavior” in case other students claim that the note was unclear and that they are not prepared for the 9th (2nd option)?

  • Yes, note was unclear and should be fairer to take the partial on the 12th
  • Yes, note was unclear but it was clear enough that days were inverted, so we could take the partial on the 9th
  • Yes, note was unclear but I’m prepared and I don’t care too much if it will be on 9th or 12th

P.S. In case you were thinking “Why didn’t you ask for clarifications?” my answer will be “I would have assumed 1st option anyway and acted accordingly”

EDIT: I forgot to say that the 9th we will have a class with the Prof, so there will be clarifications.

I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from university A. I was then supposed to do a PhD at university B in a different country but relocating did not work out (I did not start in the program). Some time later, I took a temporary research assistant position at university C. I was hoping to do a PhD also there but having considered the topic/group I think it is not a good fit for me.

I have discussed about returning to A but not signed a contract yet. Would it be disadvantageous to get all degrees from the same university?

I had very high expectation for the PhD since I was a very good student at A. However, I have now had two attempts going elsewhere and neither succeed. I am not sure how much support I would get for further applications.

Should I stay at A and try again after the PhD? The thing is, A is not very well-known university.