A (not so) small celebration of… me
I can write small novels on the accomplishments of others and praise the work they do, because the work they do is worth praise. I think I come off overly flattering, but I mean every word of it because people deserve to be celebrated. Well sadly, I lack that ability for myself, but I’m pushing through the skin crawling feeling that I should delete this and write something else to celebrate a victory, or at least an acknowledgement of a win. So today we’re talking about my least favorite subject, me.
It’s ironic that this whole blog should be all about me, but you’ll notice I spend more time talking about things other than myself. Specifically progress I’m making and things that would be more applicable to students (especially from the mental health side and that sort of thing). Still, here we are and I guess I could do a quick intro again and get to the news.
For those unaware or just joining in, I’m currently wrapping up my fourth year of my PhD in neuroengineering. I have my BS and MS in mechanical engineering and while they sound the same, I ALWAYS like to point out they are not, because that was a big shock to me! I also work full-time at a hospital doing research as of last fall, but I’ve been working in the hospital lab for a few years now. I wish I could say it’s been easy, but a PhD is not a long Masters, ask me how I know. It’s taken me awhile to find my footing, but I’ve quickly been trying to make a name for myself in the field. With one year (hopefully) left it feels like there’s still a lot to do, but I feel like I’m doing okay(ish).
Which brings me to today. The story begins several months back when I submitted a grant application. I say I because unlike previous attempts, my name was explicitly on this one, which was a great change of pace for me since I’m the one doing the bulk of the writing. Well, in October of last year, I found out we won (here). And my (no longer) super secret technique has now been funded and for the next year I should be able to smoothly sail to my graduation… maybe… not sure yet.
That’s not the point though! The point is that shortly after the official announcement the school asked to do an interview with me, school-PI and surgeon-PI. Not to be confused with hospital-PI who is not on the grant sadly because we thought he was leaving for a long time (here). It turned out the interview was more about me than the lab or my PI mentors. I was caught off guard because I’ve never really had an interview before, much less one about me.
Well as of a few days ago, yes I sat on this because I was fighting myself about sharing, the article went live. Since then I’ve had a rollercoaster of emotions from excitement to fear and just about everything in-between. I’m also fighting the urge to try to get the article pulled, I’m not used to being in the spotlight and I don’t know how I feel about it. However, as I mentioned (here), there are milestones that come around that deserve to be celebrated and this is one of them.
First, I hate showing my face, I’m not exactly comfortable with the way I look in general no matter how fit I’ve been in the past. I guess everyone has those feelings no matter how you look, but I figured I would share. The article also touches on my “super secret technique” for those who want a sneak preview before my proposal defense or the possible papers that would come from this. There’s also my stock military photo, which I’m not surprised they used it, but I had so many better photos of my time in the service for them to select from.
The article feels like too much and nothing at all, because frankly if they did an article on me it must be a slow news day, or at least that’s what I keep thinking. I also think this is a big deal over nothing, but again that’s probably just me being me. As you can tell by my writing my mind is all over the place regarding this article.
Anyway, this is about the time where I deflect the attention from me and thank all of you. Because frankly I’m a lukewarm disaster most days and if it weren’t for the support and encouragement I get from my readers (yes, you!), none of this would’ve happened. I’m sure being on the other side of the screen reading these words doesn’t feel like you’re doing much, but I promise any support is good support and very much appreciated. I mean you’re dealing with a guy that hasn’t had the easiest of lives and hasn’t had a whole lot of people to lean on or support him, so even the act of reading this feels like a small miracle to me.
So as always, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. It’s been a journey and it’s not over yet. Frankly, if anything it’s just starting. Seriously, most days getting out of bed is a challenge and while I didn’t expect to find anything meaningful from sharing my story through this project, it really has been a motivating factor, YOU have been a motivating factor. Every month I get thousands of people reading my blog and that just blows my mind that you all would care to hear what I have to say.
You may have noticed I haven’t linked to the article, probably because I’m nervous to do this. However, I am once again breaking anonymity so we can celebrate together. The article, “Made of Steele” (yes, they went with a pun, no that wasn’t me who suggested it!) may be about me, but it’s also a bit about everyone who follows along. To paraphrase the last paragraph, I’ve been very lucky finding people. I guess I could also say I’ve been very lucky that people have found me.
Once again, thank you. Words can’t express my gratitude.