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Posts tagged plans


O, blog.  Without you where would I dump by brain overflow?  I mean, besides onto Lewis.

Much excitement in the first few weeks of school.  Notably, today I picked an advisor!  It’s the same person I’d had in mind for the last few quarters, but I finally just took the plunge.  It makes sense in certain ways, and it somewhat of a poor fit in others.  I’m trying really hard not to pigeonhole myself though, and take it for what it offers – opportunity, money,  resources, plans, goals… – and not worry too much about the ways in which I don’t fit the paradigm.  The truth of the matter is, I’m not a single-domain sort of person, and any advisor I pick is going to have a focus that’s not wholly my own.  So I’ve settled on a useful one, and now I need to make the best of it.

Being comfortable in your own skin is a very difficult thing to consistently be.  I’m feeling three times as comfortable being me this year than this time last year. TAing is going well; it’s not as terrifying as it could be, and my relationship to my students is only one facet of the nature of my studenthood.  My classes are going well, but again they only make up another small portion of my life, which is tempered by reality.  I have no idea what papers I’m going to write for either class, but as for now it’s not causing me any stress.  My advisor is teaching one, and said that a research proposal could be submitted in place of a paper.  Given that we’re working on developing a research proposal anyway, this could be a rather advantageous overlap.  My favorite professor is teaching the other one, and the subject is something I really do not excel in, but I’m feeling confident I can bend the matter into something useful for myself.

The strangest thing about being a second year is the odd semblance of a plan forming in the horizon.  It’s at times completely terrifying, and at others rather soothing.  Today, I feel soothed.  From this vista, I can see the four things that must happen between where I’m standing now, and my doctorate.  There’s a paper I must finish this year.  I’m not sure what that’s going to be on yet, but I have two nascent but promising ideas.   One easier than the other, the other more useful than the first.  One of them will get done.  And when it’s done, I’ll have a masters.  I have a second paper to do, the one which I intend to be this research project with said advisor.  It should be the pilot for the research that will be my dissertation.  When it’s done, and I’ve taken my oral exam, I advance to candidacy.  From there to the PhD is a blur of having no classes, and doing a lot of self-guided research.  This is where the architecture of the lab comes in particularly handy – some structure in an otherwise structureless life.  The only thing keeping life moving steadily forward – classes – are coming to a close.  After this year, we needn’t take classes full time, or at all.  Provided that I’ve finished the set amount before I write that second paper, my time is my own.  The idea of finally running out of classes to take seems impossible, but it’s true.  At some point, it’s research, not ritual.

On that note, I have some work for classes to undertake.  I should enjoy it while I can!


Ooo, school starts tomorrow!  I’m rather excited about that this evening.  I just got my bag prepared for tomorrow, and packed with all the books and pens and things I need.  I’ve got a pretty easy day, I think – just Quechua and a meeting with the professor I’m TAing for.  I’m looking forward to it for sure!

Today turned into that relaxing and great day I was hoping for.  Got up pretty late after a debacle with our smoke alarm (chirpping, running out of batteries) at 4 am.  Had a nice lie in, a quick breakfast, and then we headed off to Vacaville to get some stuff done.  Lewis needed new pants that fit better, so we hit up the Eddie Bauer outlet and proceeded to spend waaaay more money than we probably needed.  But when all pants are like 15 dollars, and nothing you own fits any more… it’s time to sink some money in for the name of comfort.  We even ran into our Davis friends Ann and Joaquin there!   We had a nice lunch at Mels and then went and picked fabric for our bathroom curtain which maybe I’ll have time to pin and sew tomorrow.  Dinner with the Lawyers tonight was very relaxing.  We had some mixed drinks and talked through our LA plans (whew!) and a very tasty dinner.  Life is good.

Now I just need to try and get myself into bed before 1 am, so that I’ll actually make it to class on time in the morning.  Thankfully I don’t have any 8 am classes this quarter.  10 am will seem like a blessing!   And here’s to hoping that this quarter will be a better balanced, but equally enriching and stimulating experience.  Last quarter was a little out of control in places, and this quarter has a lot of potential for getting out of hand.  But as of tonight, I’m feeling relaxed and hopeful that this quarter will be a happy time full of friends and fun and adventure!  How’s that for a last-night-of-break cap?

Graduate Student: 0

Hi blog.

I’m sorry I’m busy.

The quarter only has three weeks left in it, and I guess that means that the race has only just begun.  Thank goodness I only have two huge papers to write.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with more classes than that next quarter… but maybe I’ll be better at this stuff by then.

I just mapped out the next week of my life, which I should have done a few days earlier, but I didn’t really get much of a chance this weekend.  It was nice to see my parents, but I definitely dropped the ball on a few things I should have been working on, even though we stayed home all weekend instead of playing in the Bay Area with them on Sunday. I guess that’s life.  I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving, and anticipating getting a whoooole lot of work done on that fantastic four day weekend.  Even if a good day or two gets taken up by needing to eat and cook.  Surely I can do that and study simultaneously!  That’s really the weekend I should start writing one or both of my essays, for sure.  Thankfully neither is due until finals week, so that also gives me a sort of empty (of classes, anyway) week to hammer out some good whatnot.  Or panicked whatnot, by that point.

But anyway.  Life is feeling good, and calm, for all that the work storm is just working itself into a fury.  There’s lots of sleep, and love, and good food, and friends in my life, and that’s all I really need to keep a steady hand on the wheel.  For some reason I can’t get myself too worked up about these papers yet.  Maybe because I feel like I have a handle on the material for both (though is that really true?) or maybe because the looming sceptre of graduate school has passed.  There’s something really relaxing about having attained my highest goal – the admission to the program.  I wonder what having the actual certificate will feel like after all this.  …anyway, it seems like all I can do is try my best at these papers, and that’s all they can expect of me, and through that formula somehow we’ll make decent papers that will be interesting to research and a character-building experience to write.

Boy, I’m tired.  I stayed up too late last night coding.  And I need to put a little more time in tonight.  As I mentioned, I waited too long to check my to-do list this week, and lo, I’m supposed to have read a paper for tomorrow.  I flipped it open tonight and to my dismay, it’s 68 pages long.  Those are short book pages, admittedly, but still that’s rather more than I anticipated.  So maybe I can put a few behind me tonight before I doze off.  I shouldn’t have had all that warm cocoa though, for it’s made me rather sleepy!   I guess we’ll see who wins.

Protected: Weekend of Ferocity

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