Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things are settling

Well, well, it seems I've taken a bit of a break from here again. At least they're getting shorter.

So much has happened recently... new experiences, new plans.

The personal issues are resolved. At home, I've been working on redecorating and cleaning. What a difference all that is making! I feel much less cramped in my house. And the second bedroom is usable as a guest room because I moved all the kitties' stuff into a cubby in the kitchen. The kitties are adjusting well to the new arrangement. I want to find them another bed or two, but there is no rush on that. I'm also hoping to find an inexpensive futon on craigslist for the guest room.

At work, I've been keeping up with my class that actually has homework. The other class is mostly reading. I've been a bad student and not read most of the "required" reading. I'm catching the gist of everything in lectures, at least. I subbed for my advisor's class yesterday--that was fun. Several of the students complimented me on the lecture, so I guess it went well. I haven't gotten to research yet. I am quite unhappy with myself for that, but trying not to be too hard on myself.

As far as new plans, I started jujitsu. It seems to fit me well, so I ordered a judogi, the uniform that's required if you join the club. I also tried judo, but I'm not as excited about that group for a couple of reasons: I don't really want to compete and I feel like the jujitsu club has a better sense of safety. I've come home sore from both of them :). It's a good kind of sore.

I'm also traveling a lot over the next month and a half. After this coming weekend, I have four weekends away from home, then one or two at home, then Thanksgiving. I know this doesn't seem like the "normal" semester I hope for, but this is better than that. I've always wanted to travel more. Occasionally (every few weeks to every couple of months) I get a feeling that I can only describe as wanderlust. I feel like I need to get out of town and go somewhere. Visiting my parents does not satisfy this unless I get to do something new with people I don't usually see. Some of my travel this fall will fit perfectly.

Since I haven't done research yet, I'll leave this as a short update with no interesting stories or useful discussion. Just so you know that I still haven't defied gravity and fallen off the Earth.


  1. No research in 3 months now and you're still trying not to be too hard on yourself? Perhaps you should reevaluate what is worth being hard on yourself about and what is not. If I were your adviser I would be pretty upset about 3 months of funding down the drain.

  2. I started this unproductive period ahead of the game since I passed the qualifying exam a year ahead of time and still finished my MS in two years. My advisor is one of the people suggesting that I not be too hard on myself since I'm still on-track overall.

    Besides that, it's been two months during which I resolved a major point of stress in my life, which required a lot of time and energy. Because my advisor has been understanding, I'm in a much better place to successfully complete my PhD. Sometimes a bit of leeway is required for maximum quantity and quality of work.

    He's the kind of advisor that inspires a lot of loyalty in his students. His whole research group is prepared to follow him if he ever leaves our current university.

  3. Your adviser is doing you quite a disservice. Life itself is constantly a source of major points of stress. Why do you get to shut down for two months just because life is hard? Why do you get to shut down for a month because you got a little ahead? No one else does. If they do they lose jobs and credibility or worse.

    Rather than convincing yourself not to feel the guilt you should feel, you need to change. You need to make up for your lack of effort. If life gets in the way of productivity that much, you need to figure out a new way to handle life. Drop some of your extracurricular activities, cancel some of your travel and get tough on yourself. You are not an undergraduate anymore.

    There is no shame in making or admitting mistakes. There is shame in failing to address them. There is shame in perpetuating them. Sometimes the truth is exceptionally unpleasant. That makes it no less true. Take some responsibility for both your actions and inactions. You have a job. You have a duty to your adviser and to funding agency to perform that job. You have a duty to yourself to perform that job.