Monthly Archives: April 2012

new year’s resolutions, or un-resolutions

Okay, it’s not really the new year. But it’s a new year for me: my birthday was last week. Another chance to reminisce and strengthen my resolve for the coming year – my twenty-seventh – but to what end?

Fingers crossed that my advisor will never read this, but here goes: I really don’t want to be in graduate school.

I’ve waited seven months to say this, hoping that I’d make it through the requisite adjustment period and start to feel better about it. No dice. I won’t put the final stamp upon that statement till after my summer of research (no more classes! Sunny weather! Undergraduate servant!) but I think it’s fairly unlikely that I’ll change my mind.

So… What does this mean? What do I want to do instead? What’s my¬†plan? Who am I, anyways? Difficult questions to answer – my entire life has thus far been framed by school. An enormous portion of my sense of self-worth is tied up in “being good at school.” Suddenly I’m no longer good at it, and I don’t want to be doing it. I suppose I had always assumed that school would keep inexorably propelling me forward, to thing after thing after thing. I’d never thought very much about other paths.

Now, I suppose, I must. The very qualities that made me an excellent undergraduate student have made me entirely unsuited for graduate school: my breadth of interest, my general curiosity, my eclecticism, my “well-roundedness” have translated into lack of focus, frustration with the infinite narrowing-down of the higher levels of academia, serious ADD regarding my thesis work, and an overall sense of my own unworthiness. It’s looking ever more likely that my delight in the work I did as a fourth-year undergraduate was built on “loves running around in the bush in Kenya!” rather than “loves scientific research!”


On the upside, for perhaps the first time in my life, I’m doing some serious thinking about what I actually want. Beyond expectations, money, “good choices,” and all of that – what do I actually want? It seems strange that I had to live for twenty-six years to start thinking about this. Each year I discover new ways in which I truly, deeply, profoundly, do NOT understand how to live life.

But I’m getting better!

Resolutions (not to get too ambitious, but hey – go big or go home.)

  2. Figure out what you really want to do with your life.
  3. Be grateful of your friends and family, and be more mindful and loving towards them.
  4. Be outside more.
  5. Be more supportive of yourself.