Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Begin at the beginning, and when you get to the end, stop.


 The thesis is completed, the defense is completed, now…the rest of your life?

Yes, I haven’t written in over 6 months, but that is because I have been spending every day writing my thesis (along with being in the lab, until January, and teaching this spring semester). I did do a pretty good job, I think, of keeping at least one weekend day for not doing work and I my husband still likes me, so I call that a successful thesis writing season!


It is very strange to think of this process coming to an end, at least officially, but here we are. I thought I would tell this in some screen shots, since that seems to be the best way to sum up my life lately.

Somehow in the last 7 months I went from this:

(envision me staring blankly out the window too)

To this:

I had barely used R before doing the analysis for my thesis, and I am so glad I made the switch from SPSS. My success is very much due to the EEID Ecology Workshop and my awesome office mates.

then this:

It is so satisfying to hit the “Accept all changes in document” button!

And finally to this:

And this!

Now the to-do list includes addressing some of my committee’s comments about things that need to be changed before the thesis is submitted to the college, getting the chapters ready for publication (also will be much improved after taking into consideration the committee’s comments), and getting everything prepped for the move to Scotland! (did I mention I got the NSF post-doc fellowship I wrote about in the last post?!)

I have been listening to the Talking Heads: True Stories album lately (mainly because it follows the TRON soundtrack in my iTunes library. I have been spending a lot of time at the computer, can you tell?), and there is one song that I have always liked but never really paid much attention to, “Dream Operator.” 

This is a really beautiful song that originally was sung during a strange/arty fashion show in the David Byrne movie. I think it is mainly about letting go and experiencing things that you may not have expected, and with each you get to tell a new story that is now a part of your life. There was one chorus that has struck a chord with me as I’ve been working so hard to finish my dissertation and get ready for a move to a new country to start a new job that was my first choice for how I wanted to continue my research after completing my PhD:

And you dreamed it all
And this is your story
Do you know who you are?
You're the dream operator  

When I heard this I thought, Yes, I think I do know who I am now. Of course things will change over time, but I have found what I want to do with my life that I think is important and makes me happy. I have worked hard and the payoff is I get to be a scientist and try to answer questions about how the natural world works. This is my story. I am the dream operator. I hope you are yours.

1 comment:

  1. Christina SartinJuly 23, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    I agree that all the hard work and effort people give to write academic paper would be worth it once they see the final product of it. And I think writing phd dissertations or thesis can really be hard at the beginning, but if you are determine to finish the degree, then you have nothing to worry about. Anyway, congratulation for the job well done! I think everyone who finished their paper really deserve a pat in the back.