Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A year makes all the difference - Scientiae, August 2010

I celebrated the first anniversary of depositing my master's thesis a few days ago. Reading my posts from a year ago, it would seem that I have gotten nowhere in the last year. I just started writing my prelim proposal and have yet to submit the paper based on my thesis. Despite my lack of visible productivity, I have accomplished a lot in the past year personally and professionally.

On the personal side, I went from living with my ex-boyfriend and two cats to living alone. That involved a drawn-out transition that I believe is finally coming to a close. My house is much cleaner and more peaceful than before, and I'm confident that I've made good, if difficult, decisions in light of the circumstances life handed me. I am now free to help my family on short notice if my dad's condition suddenly changes. When I'm not visiting family, I am able to focus more on myself and redirecting my life along a more satisfying path. I am becoming more the me I want to be by the day. That involves new career goals, new and renewed hobbies, and learning from all the trials of recent years.

Professionally, I admitted my passion for language and broad learning. As a scientist, I'd face deep learning and technical, utilitarian writing--not the best fit. Because of this seemingly obvious epiphany (as so many are in hindsight), I began to seek training in journalism. A couple of the instructors from the journalism department at my school are working with me to plan a curriculum that will fit with my PhD work. I'm really excited to meet with them in a couple of weeks! I feel more certain in my career plans than I have in years even though they're still developing. I'm running on pure faith that I'll find a way to pay off my undergrad loans (I suppose that's not much of a change).

My hobbies and hope for the future carry me over all the hurdles I face. Part of my life is unpredictable right now because of my dad's illness, but it does not comprise my life. In pursuit of being the best me I can, here some of my goals:
Six months
  • pass my prelim
  • complete the first objective listed in my PhD research proposal and present the results at a national professional conference
  • submit the MS paper
  • ride a century (100 miles)
  • gain experience in journalism and/or science writing, either through a class or an internship
  • test for my blue belt in jujitsu (a stretch, but not impossible)
  • continue to read as if my books are disintigrating before my eyes
One year
  • complete more of the PhD-specific goals I'll come up with as part of my prelim (TBD)
  • have a portfolio of usable writing clips
  • start working on the first paper based on my PhD research
  • ride my bike a bunch--at least one century next season
  • gain proficiency in jujitsu to at least the level of green tip
  • travel somewhere new
Instead of feeling lost as I have for many months, I'm excited for all the opportunities coming this year. I only dread two possibilities: letting fear get in my way and my dad's treatment not going well. The former I can prevent. The latter I will ignore unless it happens because there is no way to prepare for it.

To end on a positive note, I am elated about my upcoming tour of the East Coast. I can't wait to visit so many places and good friends. It'll be a great adventure!

Posted for the August 2010 edition of Scientiae, hosted by Alyssa at Apple Pie and the Universe.

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