It’s been a hectic month. I just got back from a week on the west coast of the US, and while the trip was a great success, there was a ton of work that went into it. I’m going to hijack my own blog for a bit and talk about what’s been going on in my life outside of sewing. I hope you don’t mind! If you do, consider yourself warned and feel free to skip this one. I promise I won’t be offended. 🙂
As I mentioned in my Highlights of 2014 post, I’m planning to graduate with my PhD later this year. Exciting! But this raises the question that every graduate student dreads: what’s next? Although I haven’t quite figured it out yet, I decided to start applying for jobs and see where it takes me. A postdoctoral position was advertised in Washington (the state, not DC) and seemed like a good fit, so off I went.
It turns out that applying for a post-doc is no small task! Those of you who have been through this process know what I’m talking about, but I had no idea what I was in store for. Suffice it to say that I spent the entire month of January preparing for the interview. As in, I spent all of my usual working hours and many of my evenings and weekends preparing, and didn’t get any of my other work done all month, not to mention the lack of sewing time. What an adventure!
I was stressed out all month and had this interview hanging over my head like a huge rain cloud about to burst. My birthday came and went, and while I usually get excited about my birthday and like to have fun with it, this year I just couldn’t get rid of that huge cloud, even for a day.
The interview was this past week, and I’m incredibly happy to report that it seems to have gone well. Whether I get a job offer or not is another story, as I’m sure there were plenty of other candidates who also interviewed well, but I’m so relieved to finally have it all behind me. Preparing for the interview was a huge challenge and a great learning experience for me, and I think the next one will be much easier as a result. A good interview experience also gives me confidence for future interviews, as I think I’ve figured out (a) what I need to do, and (b) how to do it well.
The second component of my trip was working on a bunch of data that will go into my dissertation project. To make a very long story short, my PhD has not gone nearly as smoothly as I would have liked, and almost all my data is coming in right at the end. I’ve spent the past few years being worried about my lack of progress and frustrated by the experience of re-doing experiments and waiting months for the results to come back, only to have to re-do them yet again. I think perseverance is the key to getting a PhD.
Anyway, after much drama and many years, I am finally in possession of all my data, processed, finished, and ready to go. This represents a huge transition in the state of my work, and once again, I am so relieved to finally have everything I need to graduate. Granted, there is still a ton of work to be done – analysis, writing, etc. – but at least the experiments are done and the data is in my own hands. To say that I am elated about this is an understatement. Even better, I think my advisor is finally satisfied that all the time and money she has invested in me will pay off in the end.
All in all, I came back from my trip feeling like a new person. I feel more confident in my ability to get an academic job (if I decide I want one), and I feel confident in my ability to complete a meaningful thesis project and actually earn my degree. I wasn’t sure if I’d make it for a while there!
This whole PhD thing is quite a wild ride. You take a huge financial blow in exchange for years of frustration and self-doubt, only to come out of it with a piece of paper and a few initials to tack onto your signature. Is it really worth it? God, I hope so!
I’m very thankful to have a good emotional support network, a sweet kitty to snuggle up with, and a hobby that I feel so passionate about and that allows me to escape from work-related stress, if only temporarily. And speaking of sewing, can you spot a new book in my arsenal? It may have been a birthday gift. 🙂
Hope you all had a great week, whether it was filled with work, sewing, or both!