A look forward
It’s a new year, a new chapter, and it’s time to set some new goals. What kinds of craziness will I accomplish this year? Well I have a few ideas. No pressure or anything, I don’t want to force myself to fit things into the year just because I planned for it. Instead I like to set goals so I can check things off a list (I do love my lists). So even if that list rolls into the next year, it’s not the end of the world. Just a helpful hint for those of us who are chronically anxious!
I’m at the start of my studies, it’s weird to say that since I’ve been working on my PhD for almost 3 years now, but there is some work we do prior to starting our study “full-time.” In my case I had to make the jump to a fully new field of research so I had to learn the basics before I could find a topic where I could expand human knowledge (a shorthand way of saying PhD worthy research).
This past year I did several experiments to help me progress to my research goal. However, that’s just the groundwork to show that what I’m proposing is feasible. I still have one or two more experiments to perform to show this works, so that’s part of what I want to do this year. I also want to start doing some of the experiments I need to get done to do my PhD itself, not just the work to show that it’s possible. There’s a lot of questions and some controversy that what I think I have is real, basically this year I plan on showing within a reasonable doubt that I have something here. Once that happens I think getting more data will be easier.
Okay, so we have one major goal set. That’s probably THE major goal if I’m being honest. I mean I want to get my PhD done as soon as possible. The other goal attached to that is to do my PhD proposal defense. It’s the next milestone in my PhD progress and one that signals that I have convinced enough people (namely my committee) that my “super secret” technique is viable. After the next dataset is collected I should be able to meet this goal. Technically I could’ve already hit this milestone, but my main PI wants me to publish some data for a different experiment I collected first, prior to this so I will probably be spending the next few months doing that, THEN I can worry about this goal.
Yes, there is a theme this year, I mean I am a PhD candidate after all, it’s pretty much all I do. Okay so let’s talk about some non-work related goals. Last year over the summer I set a goal of reading 20 books. I don’t get a lot of free time so it was nice to be able to read and not have to do much. Not only did I meet that goal, I hit 26 books, so roughly a book a week from when I set that goal. Since it’s the new year I have 52 weeks instead of the ~28 I think when I set that goal last year. This year I’m aiming for 30 books, which if I keep my pace going I should hit closer to 50ish, but I don’t want to pressure myself like that so 30 books feels more reasonable and if I go over, then why the hell not?
Since I had two (albeit similar) goals for my PhD life, I might as well set a second for my personal. This year I want to build something! The vanity project seen here, here, and here is almost complete (despite what little progress the photos seem to be showing). Since I’m wrapping it up I’m thinking about the next project, maybe another vanity, maybe something smaller, or I could go all in and do something larger. I’m not sure yet, but the idea is to just get out there and make something. It will probably be something practical so some sort of furniture, but the idea is that it will be something I make and it will be a way to improve my woodworking skills, which I’m really enjoying. Ironically the idea to start woodworking came from my love of crafting in video games, I thought why not do something like that in real life? So I just sort of started, I was lucky enough to have some of the basic tools needed and the rest is history.
Okay, well those are the basic goals this year. I’ll do what I normally do, re-evaluate and re-adjust my goals over the summer. I’ll probably add some new goals to the list or maybe just check some things off. Who knows! It’s a year full of possibilities and maybe unspeakable horrors, but that’s the … fun? of it. In any case, my last hope is that you all find some fulfillment this year and with a little luck, some peace too.