Nine months in Washington after graduation

After I graduated with my PhD from St Andrews on a cold March morning, I went to Washington DC. I had no money, no job, and no prospects, but I wanted to become a professor at a US university. A friend let me surf his couch for a few weeks, and I lived on not much more than a dollar a week. Bread, eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, gave a week's supply of salad sandwiches. The American Enterprise Institute gave me editing work that earned a little money.  Eventually I landed a job on the Hill with the Republican Study Committee.  Since the Vietnam War began, huge numbers of students had opted for PhDs instead of the draft and the risks of fighting in Vietnam, and there might be 600 applicants for a university job.  I applied to Conservative Colleges and hit it lucky with Hillsdale. They wanted to expand their Conservative outreach, and they thought a UK person with my background might be just the person to help them do that.

It was an amazing year for me, starting with my PhD, and employment in Washington that featured a Congressional fact-finding tour of Vietnam while the war was still on, and a trip to Israel on behalf of US Congressmen.  When I went back to St Andrews for the Christmas holidays, I had a job as a Professor of Philosophy to look forward to in January. More to the point, I had credit cards for the first time, and could afford to pay my way.  It was a life-changing year.