Last day full-time…

So that’s it then. After 33 years at Stirling University, or 37 years as an academic, or having worked or been a student since I was 17 (with time off for the occasional holiday), I’m down to 20% as from 1 November. And since I’m going on holiday to Iceland next week, today was my last day full-time at the University. I’ll be semi-retired: I can be told what to do at work one day a week, and I can do what I want (whether at work or not) the rest of the time. I’m still quite involved in things academic, between the SICSA AI theme, the University of Stirling Context project, and working with the INI DAS1 silicon cochlea.

Today was a bit of an anti-climax, however. I’ve had little teaching this semester (because of this change half-way through), and ever since I demitted as Head of Department, I’ve felt as though I had retired! Yes, we had some cake and biscuits, yes a few of us went for a drink, but it didn’t feel very celebratory. Perhaps it was the faculty meeting this morning (the usual: bring in more money, write more 4* papers for the REF, keep the lovely students happy by giving them feedback quickly, and don’t confuse them by presenting them with a web presence that doesn’t conform to University norms, be ambitious but realistic on our achieving success forms, …), perhaps it was just me, world-weary after so long in post (have I really seen it all before? Or is it really a bright and shiny new world out there?). Whatever, as the young say: it felt like a bit of a let-down.

And now? Nearly midnight, with a small nightcap of Lagavullin, and some dark chocolate (thanks, Noel, for suggesting this a a conference in Skövde quite a long time ago: dark chocolate and malt whisky are a lovely mix), I have time to reflect. I’m still interested in research, and perhaps more interested in explaining to a lay audience. Artificial Intelligence, bio-mimetic computing, early auditory processing, still needing developed. Of course I know that others can and will take this work forward. And I should be able to send more time playing music as well, and maybe playing with one electronics too.

Or maybe I’ll just drink more whisky. And eat more dark chocolate.

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