I just realized earlier this week that I’ve now been at my new/first non-student/amazing job for an entire year!
With all the huge changes at the beginning of this job, April 2015 seems like much more than a year ago. Last April I was sighing with relief that MountainMan actually liked the place we’d chosen to live and was mourning the loss of my grad school community of friends. I was suddenly dropped into a pool of unfamiliar acronyms, procedures, and people, which was both thrilling and terrifying. I had only the vaguest idea of how MRI worked, was working with an extremely rusty knowledge of anatomy and very little cadaver experience, and was more than a little intimidated by the 100+ page Matlab GUI code that I was expected to modify to fit the labs research needs.
Now I’m looking for a new place in current-town with MM and have only almost-stress-cried once, I have a new pool of local friends to add to my network of awesome people, and I’ve reached the point where I can give a passable explanation of MRI concepts, can lead someone else through the procedures for getting CT or MR from the techs or writing up a study for the hospital IRB, and have bonded with coworkers over geekery and the hospital staff over the coffee machine and construction woes. I can (generally) explain how MR images are captured, have lugged random body parts up and down from the freezers alone at night without getting creeped out, can name the meniscofemoral ligaments (hi there Wrisberg and Humphrey!), and have written my own GUI additions and scripts to add to our (heavily in need of organization) collection.
Yes, the future still makes me nervous and I still have frustrations and worries, but I’m in a much happier place than a year ago. My work and personal lives seem to have found a more enjoyable equilibrium, and are both much more pleasant in the improved environment of current-awesome-town-that-MM-also-likes. I no longer regularly read papers and code through tear-reddened eyes, I actually feel like a worthwhile human being on most days (woohoo!), and I only rarely feel either work-slacker or wife-slacker guilt. To top it off, I am absolutely thrilled to see that I’m still learning something new almost every week in spite of being out of school and into a ‘real job’.
My path over the last year feels much like one of the local running trails. It has been regularly steep and challenging, and occasionally frightening when I fear I’ve taken a wrong turn, but has also been full of stunning views that have reminded me to enjoy the privilege of traveling somewhere so amazing and to keep moving forward even through the rocky sections. I am incredibly grateful to the incredible good fortune, amazing people, and general propensity towards geekyness/stubbornness that have allowed me to get to this mile of the trail and to be finding so much joy as I travel along.