Goals for 2022
Last year I did a post like this and I figure it was fun, so I’m going to try yet again to predict what this year will look like for me. Sure, they are the things I would like to happen, but as I found out last year what I think will happen and what does happen, are two different things. So the plan is simple, list a few things I want to get done this year and why, then laugh next year as I either fail miserably, go off on some new and seemingly unrelated tangent, or do far more than I imagined. It will be an interesting year no matter what the outcome though.
Last year I had a few goals, really it was one goal and I didn’t get it done because, well life. This year however I’m almost certain this goal will happen or something will have gone horribly wrong. That goal, my PhD proposal defense! I’m getting excited just thinking about it, but it should be happening soon, like next few months soon. And again, if that doesn’t happen then something horrible has happened and I don’t know if I would be able to graduate in a year (spring 2023!!) like I’m hoping for. I’m like 83.641112% confident that this will happen though, I just need to get some stuff sorted with my committee and have my school-PI (since I have three PI’s now) sign off on my proposal. Expect updates soon…. or else.
I dared not suggest it last year since I was seriously thinking I just couldn’t cut it as a scientist. However, with my recent successes (read about one in detail here), I hope to get at least the two other papers I’m working on published. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this year I will have three published, hopefully one of them will (FINALLY!) be my Masters degree work. That’s currently in review, but no word yet on what’s going on with it. The other paper is the one where I earned the BRAIN initiative meeting award (here). That paper is written and mostly agreed upon, but there’s still some snags and one reviewer I’m waiting on, sooooooon… I hope. See, there’s a theme going already. I have an idea for a third paper, but I don’t even dare hint what that may be since it’s super ultra top secret and will take forever to get done (especially on top of all my other duties).
There will probably be chances to win some awards, I already know that I have at least one featured article about myself coming from the school. While not an “award” per say it certainly feels like one. Maybe awards are a bad way to phrase this, I hope to get a chance to share my science, make a name for myself, that sort of thing. I have a lot of ideas, most of them (to me anyway) seem good, so now I just need people to notice. Being early career is hard and I already have a tough time with publishing and what not. If I want to be successful I need people to notice my work and more importantly, cite it.
As school-PI mentioned when we met last to discuss my future, I need to get my h-index up. H-index for those not familiar is the average number of times I am cited by other researchers each year (cumulative). Mine is currently sitting at a paltry 3, while my i10-index (papers cited more than ten times) is a 1. Hospital-PI for reference has an h-index of 27 and an i10-index of 43. To be fair he has about 10 years on me, but mine is still on the low end among my peers, so that will hopefully be addressed as I publish more. Or once again we can sum it up by saying… soooooon.
Mostly this year I want to focus on getting my career off on the right foot because if all goes well this year I will be graduating next year. In fact, I hope that next year when I write this post again that I’m getting ready to do my PhD defense. I’m already getting anxious thinking about it, excited anxious though. So I need to get all my ducks in line before graduating so I know where I will be going next. The truth is I’ll be working at the hospital for at least a year after I graduate as a postdoc, but also because that’s the rule if they pay for my schooling (which they are). So there will be a bit of a gap before I need to think of the next big jump I want to take. Those are all goals for next years post though.
On a more personal note, I want to keep going with my yearly reading goals. Year before last it was 20 and I hit 26, last year it was 30 books and I hit 39, so this year I’m aiming for 35. I doubt I will increase it again after that, but that’s because I want to avoid feeling like I need to read a book a week. I do this for fun, not to rush though books, so I don’t want that kind of pressure on myself. I’ve read a book in a single day and sometimes it takes me a month to make it through, that’s the fun of it. Plus different books have different lengths and there are life situations I need to account for. All that to say I think 35 is a good number and maybe I’ll adjust it next year, but that’s the thing about long-term goals, you never know what will happen.
No matter what happens this year, if I can manage to get my PhD stuff done and graduate next year I will be very happy. It’s been almost 15 years since I started this journey way back as an undergrad. I’m ready to have my PhD finally, I really am. I don’t know that I will do it, but I’m hopeful and that’s about all I can say for now.