Nate Wessel

PhD at uToronto

Charta Vitae

Started 2015-09 and ended 2019-11

You may call me Dr. Nate, not that you should.

I got a PhD in urban planning at the University of Toronto, between 2015 and 2019. I did a lot of quantitative research on public transit reliability, travel behavior, active transportation, cartography, and so on and so on. I taught a class on spatial analysis which was a lot of fun, and I did a lot of work for other classes too.

I moved to Toronto from Cincinnati, which was a huge change in my life. I converted my boyfriend into a husband to help get him across the border. He was never expecting to move because I initially presented myself as someone who was quite happy living in Cincinnati; so that sudden change came as a bit of a shock to him and his domestic and business affairs. He gave up his house and his business for this.

I made a lot of friends in Toronto and I’ve had a lot of good experiences, but I’ve come to believe that the whole affair was more or less a mistake. The costs were too high — to my partner and to me. We lost a lot in the uprooting and it now feels like we’re left living in a city we can’t afford while the esteem and job prospects that I initially thought might come from this exulted title not only amount to nothing outside of academia itself, but actually constitute a negative gain, a burden, an albatross on my neck that needs to be struggled against.

Having a PhD in a job interview seems to be something like walking into a room and declaring that you are a princess. Suddenly everyone needs to put you in your place, thinks that you think you’re too good to work with them, that you need to be handled delicately, that you must have so many opportunities that the fact that you’ve stopped to talk to them constitutes only the slightest whim on your part which they will not respond meaningfully to out of plain self respect. An egalitarian culture abhors a title.

Academic DegreePaid WorkUrban Planning

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