Year 5 begins…

I don’t know where the time has gone this year. It feels like it was only yesterday that I was starting 2013, 1/3 of the way through my fourth year of grad school. And yet here it is, already September and I’m now a 5th (!) year PhD student. (And even worse, this is the start of my 7th (ahh) year as a grad student.)

This year has also been such a roller coaster of a year so far. I felt like my first semester/third went by terribly. And then this summer seemed to start off the same way. But, I do feel like I managed to ‘redeem’ my summer.

It hasn’t been a bad year in terms of output. Things haven’t moved as quickly as I hoped (but they never do). I did manage to run an experiment in June. And I’ve since almost completed (I’m so close) the next experiment. I’ve spent time working on my dissertation document (which has already saved me a bunch of time and work). I have a very clear view of what needs to be done over the fall semester and the work involved.

I haven’t hit all of my goals for the summer – I was suppose to be done the current experiment set up and also finished certain chapters in the dissertation document. But I feel very satisfied and happy with the amount I have done. For the last month and a bit I’ve made steady progress on both fronts. I don’t know how much more than that you can ask for.

For this fall, I’ve got my seminar coming up right away, a paper deadline, two experiments to run and two conferences to attend. I know I’m going to be super busy for the fall (as normal). But I’m actually sort of looking forward to it. I do want a break (and need one). But I’m going to focus instead on dealing with one issue at a time. A friend recently stated that his plan for deciding what to deal with next was pretty much the following flow chart:

dealwithit

Should you deal with it?

I think I’m going to use this concept to tackle this semester. Which means, I focus first on getting my seminar presentation ready (it’s close). And then next, I’ll work on getting my experiment finalized. And so on. I think, at the very least, this will allow me to stay on top of things (or on top of at least what’s next) and make it through the semester. Then, in December, I start, hopefully, figuring out how the rest of my PhD will finish off (as in I’m really hoping I’ll be at that point).

How’s your fall shaping up?

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