Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taking a little break

Hey all!

I was alerted by someone (you know who you are) last night that I haven't blogged in a while, therefore, all 5 of my faithful followers may be giving up on me.  So, I thought I should blog...

The truth is, there are about a bazillion other things I should be doing right now.  For one, I have a grant proposal due on Saturday (who made that deadline decision??) that is in need of a total rewrite of the introduction and some major cutting to get it under the 5 page maximum requirement.  For two, I have a humungous stats assignment due one of these days soon.  For three, I'm heading home this weekend for *someone's* 2nd birthday party and I have done none of the following: buy a birthday gift, pack for the trip, or buy cat food so that my cat doesn't starve while I'm gone.  Ah, but such is life. Sometimes a short break in the middle of a busy day to do something creative (like write this blog post) can actually foster more productivity ... or at least that's what I'm hoping for in this case.

So, when I last left you, I was getting ready to leave Madison, which I did.  I packed all of my things, went out for one last breakfast at the best bagel place in the Midwest, said goodbye to my wonderful roommates and new friends, and headed for Missouri.  And cried the entire way to Iowa...  But never mind that.  Once back in Columbia, I finished and submitted a grant proposal, then made a short trip home to visit the fam and friends before my semester started.  Since then, I've been in the full swing of things, getting used to classes and homework again and getting settled into the routine of a new semester.  As a person who really, really dislikes change, you'd think I'd despise the start-stop-start again cycle of being in school but, in fact, I love it.  I like the clear beginning and end that each semester brings and I like making new schedules just as much as I like sticking to them.

I will say, though, that I have noticed myself feeling a sense of discontent lately.  I'm in that weird in-between almost done but not really almost done phase of graduate school.  This is my last semester of coursework.  Many of my very close friends are slightly ahead of me, so they aren't on campus a whole lot anymore and I spend a lot of time alone in my office.  I didn't choose the classes I'm taking because they interest me in any particular way, but specifically because they are required for graduation (except for the 5 hours of theory-heavy statistics I masochistically signed myself up for).  I've been in semesters like this before and know that the trick is to put my head down and power through it.  And it's not that I don't like the classes (again, statistics is teetering on the edge), but for the first time in a long time, I'm not finding the work particularly fulfilling.

I've been around the block enough to know that not everything in life will be fulfilling and that not every aspect of a chosen career path will make me want to bound out of bed in the mornings.  I also know myself well enough, though, to know that feeling generally fulfilled most days is important to my mental and emotional wellbeing.  So, I've made a list of the things that I find particularly fulfilling or that make me feel good about my day.  The list includes things like yoga, running, cooking, talking to friends and family, as well as things like reading academic articles in my areas of interest, brainstorming new ideas for papers, cleaning my house, and folding my laundry.  I'm going to make a very concerted effort for a while to include 1 or 2 things from my list in my everyday activities.  I'm going to make an even more concerted effort to come out of this semester with my sanity and rosy attitude in tact.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and wish this little(???) guy a very happy 2nd birthday!  :)  (And for those of you who don't know already, he's going to be a big brother this spring!)