I know I’m 18 days late, but it took me a couple weeks to get settled into the new year. I’m finally sitting down and spending my dinner-digesting time looking ahead and thinking of some positive focuses for this year:
- More art! I love drawing and painting but get distracted by other things that I value less but which don’t require the work of clearing a space and focusing on replicating the envisioned picture from my mind on paper (TV, social media, etc.). In order to push myself towards incorporating regular art sessions into the year I’ve set a goal of creating one art piece per week, or making noticeable progress on a larger piece per week. I’m giving myself a lot of wiggle room here, with anything from a quick sketch to full painting/drawing counting as one piece. Drawings 1 and 2 from the first two weeks of the new year:
2. Be more active in politics where things that I value (and the people that I value) are at risk. I grew up thinking politics was boring and had absolutely no desire to be involved beyond casting well-informed votes upon reaching voting age. However, as I’ve started to better understand the real impact that politics has on everyone’s day-to-day life I have become more interested in the process and in being involved outside of casting my ballot. My goals in this area for this year include actually calling my senators and representative regularly and/or reaching out via email for less urgent matters on which I still feel compelled to voice my opinion. I’ve found that my car (after parking) is ideal for making calls because I’m free from interruptions and can deal with my moderate phone anxiety in peace. I will probably wimp out a bit and try to stick to voicemail hours, but may eventually work up the courage (or discouragement with full/short-time-to-record voicemail boxes) to speak to an actual staffer.
3. Continue DuoLingo Spanish lessons. I’m making incremental progress and do enjoy learning new language connections as I go. I still can’t understand any of the Spanish conversations taking place around me, but I hope to at least be better with reading/writing Spanish by next winter.
1. Continue my 200-300 papers reading goal at work. Last year’s goal worked to keep me reading whenever there was a lull at work, and had the nice effect of providing me with a more thorough list of papers when it came time to look back through my reading for references. Reading just to read, rather than only for specific project literature searches, also expanded my grasp on the wider field in which my work is situated. This helped me to make connections between my current projects and other potential projects, and will strengthen my ability to justify and explain our department’s work.
2. Submit one paper for one of my main projects that is nearing the writing stage this month + make strong progress on a 2nd main project before the year is out. I submitted one paper as a main author last year (still in review 5 months later…) so two this year would be a nice bonus. I’m the main data analyzer/writer (plus our research assistant) on an ankle-related project that’s right at the stage where data analysis and writing overlap, and I hope to be able to submit it within the next few months. It’s a bit tough planning for further submissions since we generally have several doctors/researchers involved in each paper, making the back-and-forth of editing quite time consuming. However, I feel confident that we can get this paper out (hopefully boosting the RA’s residency applications!). I also want to make strong progress on a second project, which will be good motivation to actually gain some better project management know-how. Any tips for books, readings, practical project management advice (for a ‘below PI but managing research assistants’ level) are greatly appreciated!
3. Engage with at least two people per poster session during any conferences that I attend (not including interactions during my presentation time). I am not the most outgoing person, which makes poster chit-chat tough. I prefer to browse posters without interacting unless I come up with a question, making me that awkward person who comes up to your poster and then peers around you while trying not to make eye contact until I’ve at least read the majority of your poster. However, I know that discussion is better for getting questions answered, having a more complete grasp on the ‘why’ of other people’s research, and networking, so I’m making a resolution to talk to at least two presenters at every poster session that I attend this year. I’m headed to at least one conference, so we’ll see how my resolve holds out once I’m meandering through the poster sessions!
Here’s to being more mindful, engaged, and brave throughout 2017!