Reflection and Rejuvenation

Here’s a short New Years piece on the top three experiences from 2016 and my top three goals for 2017.

2016 Top Three

  1. I moved to New Hampshire and started a brand new PhD program! This was by no means an easy move to make. I spent nearly a decade in Knoxville, TN building friendships and laying down a foundation; uprooting myself and moving 1000 miles north was hard. A year later, I’m well established in my program, I’ve made lots of new friends, and I have an awesome partner that was willing to uproot himself as well to support me in my academic endeavors.
  2. I started the first chapter (and potentially a second chapter) of my dissertation! I have an incubation experiment underway that I’m developing into my first chapter as I collect and analyze the data. The other project that I have underway is a synthesis/review paper. This may become a second chapter or could be the foundation of my dissertation proposal.
  3. I had so much fun mountain biking! Moving to New England made me a better rider pretty much overnight. The trails here are super technical and to maximize your fun, you have to refine your skills. I also tried a few new things: raced in an Enduro, finished the Hampshire 100 (100 km), participated in a downhill clinic at a bike park, and raced for UNH in the Women’s A collegiate races. Lastly, I co-hosted a weekly women’s mountain bike ride in the NH Seacoast. Riding bikes has been the gateway to meeting so many awesome people and exposing me to gorgeous destinations across New England.

2017 Goals

  1. Science! The year ahead (and pretty much the rest of my life) will be filled with science. I’m hoping to have all my data from this first experiment collected and analyzed by the end of this year and have the manuscript in preparation. In addition to wrapping up my first chapter, I’m currently on track for finishing classes and defending my thesis proposal (the first step moving toward candidacy) by the end of Fall 2017.
  2. More bikes, better fitness, less stress, and increased happiness! Last year I made a big effort to take care of myself physically and mentally. Grad school can have a negative impact on both of those things, in addition to adding extra stress to your life. My solution to dealing with the stress of the daily grad school grind was to ride bikes as often as possible. I can’t wait to continue the cycling adventure! I’m looking forward to doing more races and performing better. I’m also looking forward to continue riding with all the awesome mountain bikey women that I met over the summer and got to know throughout the fall.
  3. Increasing my participation in outreach, advocacy and activism surrounding science and women in STEM. The results of the 2016 election were disappointing, to say the least, and has motivated me to take a more active stance in promoting science literacy, climate change, conservation, and advocating for women in STEM. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to bring about the change that I want to see in the world or the platform that I’ll use to communicate with people, but I know I’ll figure it out.  I’m certainly open to suggestions or dialogue on the issue, so don’t hesitate to reach out. This will be my biggest challenge, but perhaps the most rewarding goal.

I welcome all the new adventures that lie ahead and look forward to maintaining all of the positive aspects of my life that 2016 brought me.

Cheers to a New Year!