I started my physics PhD studies for good, though we had a bunch of orientations/meetings in September. Theoretical/mathematical programme, specialization in condensed matter. It's pretty intense from the very beginning, but everyone's nice, and people seem to be going out of their way to help us accommodate. Got my first research assignment, wandered the institute, managed to hit it off with some of the other freshmen and feel woefully underprepared for my Introduction to Quantum Computing 1 class. Other courses are Modern Physics 1, Quantum Mechanics, and Physics of Condensed Phase, all of which seem less daunting. There's also a mathematical methods workshop we're starting next week, which looks pretty exciting.
Because I'm in a research-centred institute, there are no undergrads around, so we're completing our teaching quotas 'on loan'. I already had my first two sessions as a Physics 1 and Calc 1 TA at the local Polytechnic. Almost all of my students went through the extended maths exam after high school, which simplifies things for me, but I find the pace of Calc 1 to be absolutely ludicrous regardless of their prep. According to the syllabus, students are expected to be able to tackle simple 2nd-order ODE by the end of this semester, which, OK, it's doable, but I don't think it's good for them in the long run. That's like cramming a pile of Schaum's Outlines and about as likely to stick. The Calc 1 lecturer seemed somewhat annoyed when I brought it up during staff meeting, so it's probably best to just make it least confusing to students. Definitely not a fan, though.
My stipend is nothing to brag about, but it's also almost twice what I had during masters, which means no more moonlighting. I'm pretty stoked about that.
I also had to resign from chemistry. Not what I wanted, but the option of completing studies 'part-time' has suddenly become reserved for single parents ("mothers, preferably") and invalids. It's good to know they'd rather lose a good student than use those vaguely-worded-on-purpose rules to make my life a tad easier. Though that's also the same place that figured using me instead of setting up an automated dripper is more cost-efficient, so it's not like I'm all that surprised. Shame, but I now know reasonably enough to study chemistry on my own from this point onwards. It was never about getting a degree anyway.