Friday, December 17, 2010

Making fun

It's official: I'm staying in grad school at least one more semester. I'm submitting a paper with my adviser early next week, then submitting my fellowship renewal. If next semester goes well, I'll just finish grad school. If it doesn't... well, I'll have to face that later. I'll assume for now that it will go well. At least I've learned about academic bureaucracy through this whole process.

In order to do what I can to have a productive semester, I intend to make it fun. I will make fun in my research life, my non-research academic life, and my personal life.

Research is still a question mark. I need to do something related to my proposal, but it does not have to follow it to the letter. In my last post I mentioned that education and outreach may be a good supplement to keep me interested in my research. I don't know how to do that specifically, but I will definitely think about it over the holiday break. Any ideas from the peanut gallery? If I make research fun, I will have no problem completing my PhD.

I'm registered fifth-semester German and third-semester Spanish. I miss languages, so it'll be nice to work with them again. I'm not too concerned about the classes' difficulty because I catch on to languages pretty quickly. I'm also taking a hydrology class. Hydrology will be a new subject for me. I hope it will give me a better sense of nature as a system. Most of my classes only touch on the atmosphere's relationship to the rest of the Earth system.

Making my personal life fun is (for once) the easy part. Jujitsu, biking, cooking, friends... easy :).

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Huh, maybe not. Oh well.

Moving to DC doesn't look like it will work by January. That means I will most likely commit to another semester (at least) of grad school soon (i.e., renew the fellowship).

Fortunately, other developments have made that more palatable. It turns out I have more leeway in my fellowship and proposal than I thought. That may be enough to find a way to get through the PhD as a grad student. It'd sure be quicker than doing it alongside a full-time job.

Grad school would also leave me time to do some education and outreach work. Based on a conversation last night during which I briefly explained global climate models and how hail forms to a friend who is not in my field, doing that more may keep me excited about atmospheric sciences. I enjoyed talking about it in that way to an interested (or at least semi-interested) audience. It's been a while since I enjoyed talking about my field.

I don't think I have a bad option right now as long as I can approach it with the right frame of mind. Not to mention, staying in Grad School Town lets me continue with my jujitsu dojo, which I really like :D. I may have to take some day trips for suitable biking terrain.