10 March 2019

Goodbye Academia: When the Books Left the House

A few hours ago, a friend (who happened to be a former student) dropped by, together with an acquaintance, to pick up 17 kilograms of books. These were all technical books from the time I was still an academic: textbooks, theoretical books, books about linguistics, language, and psycholinguistics, books that I just stared at for the past 2 years but never opened again. And at some point, I realised I won't open them again and so why would I continue hanging on to them? So I called my friend who is still a practicing academic and asked whether she would want them, or whether she knows someone who would want them. Someone else has better use of these books than me.

So we arranged a pick up, and all 17 kilograms of my old linguistics books went away. It felt good. It also felt like a final letting go, so to speak. I suppose by now, I don't have any more printed material that is associated with my time as a linguist. It feels like I've completely turned the page by now.

Back in December 2016, when I left my position in the research institute as my contract ended, I brought home all the material I had from the office. It included these books, as well as printed material from the various conferences I have attended, the programmes, the booklets, the conference proceedings, the printed copies of the posters I thought was going to be useful for me, among other things. I also had signed copies of informed consent forms from the numerous experiments I have conducted in Berlin and even going back to Buffalo. I held on to those because I wondered I would have a need to show it in case I went through an audit.

Then I got a corporate job in July 2017. That was the time I threw away the conference proceedings and the printed copies of PDFs which I still held for some reason. The only things I held on to were the books.

Now it's 2019, and I have been in the corporate world for more than a year now. I think by now there is a clear signal that I won't go back to academia anymore, and so I decided to fully let go and give my books away. It frees up some space on my bookshelves, and someone else would have better use of them, unlike me, whose only use now is to stare at them.

So yeah, goodbye academia, I definitely think I am through with you.

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