I’m writing this while on the train ride back home. I just dropped Shey off at the airport, and I am heading out of town soon, too.
Things have been very quiet around here, and a lot of that has to do with life’s ins and outs. A lot more of it has to do with me just feeling very down. I don’t like to focus on the negative, but I do want to be very honest here.
A lot of amazing things have happened, like attending the Tillman Scholars Summit in Chicago and celebrating the end of Shey’s recruiting duty. I had a successful committee meeting, and gave a talk at the International Narcotics Research Conference. I’m even getting the chance to fly to Stanford to learn some really cool techniques, & then I get to fly to St. Louis to learn some more cool things. But the truth is that city living is hard, & I am going back to living by myself until I finish my degree. Shey will be in San Diego, and I will stay in Chicago.
Aside from being apart, I feel like there isn’t a huge wave of support from my committee/immediate supervisor to finish within 1.5-2 years. By support I mean getting a response when I try to set up individual meetings, getting help troubleshooting problems or making a plan, or even belief that I can finish my proposed projects. I have a lot of data, but I can’t use it all on my thesis. I spent a good portion of my PhD working on side projects, pilot data for grants that never got funded, and attending departmental seminars/meetings that don’t necessarily relate to my work.
There is value in doing all of these things and I learned a lot of interesting facts. However, at this point as a graduate student I need more focus, more structure, and a concrete plan to finishing my degree in a reasonable time. I’ve seen too many students flounder away years of their life doing research that won’t add to their degree, or help them reach their postgraduate goals. I don’t want to be one of those students.
On the bright side, I am starting some cool non-science projects! And planning for some other exciting life things! I can’t believe I’ve been living in Chicago for 3 years already! I’m starting to feel excited about post-Chicago and post-PhD life.