Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another year, another parade, another exciting life transition...

Nothing like the Thanksgiving Day Parade to bring out the glamor in all of us!

Those of you who read my blog somewhat regularly may have recognized that photo without looking at the caption. You may have noted the 2 hoods on top of the hat, and the similarly outrageous outerwear on my mom and sister, and concluded that the only logical option was the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade. That or my mom got a little crazy with the thermostat...

Spending my first Thanksgiving as a graduate student was interesting. It contrasted with my undergrad breaks where I secluded myself from my family and read an entire novel before I was ready to face the world; I missed everyone and felt like I wanted to talk all the time. It contrasted with my med school breaks where I felt like the only conversation points I had were about inappropriate bodily functions (a hit with my mom's husband, but not often with everyone else); I talked to my mom about her dissertation work, and my dissertation work (work I'm dreaming about, that is), and my sister's future dissertation work. I realized that someday we'll be a family of doctors, and if we play it right, we'll be able to fix just about everything! (Mom = organizational science, Claire = political science, Me = medicine and public health) It was great!

So here I am, only a few months in to my new program, and I'm finding that I fit in and I'm even happy. There are terrible moments (okay, they are longer them moments, but allow me this sweet delusion) when I am afraid that I will never be good enough, or never get enough done, or never sleep enough. There are awful times when I know that I can't do my best, or that I've forgotten something in the rush, or that I'm sure that I must be heading down the wrong path. In spite of what Alicia may tell you (thank goodness she doesn't keep a regular blog!), overall, I think things are going pretty well. I'm variably overwhelmed, but what world health issue worthy of any effort whatsoever isn't overwhelming? (I'd have to be awfully arrogant not to be overwhelmed by the AIDS pandemic... Of course it can't be fixed with a dissertation¿ even a good dissertation... But I'm trying to do my part!)

So what I'm trying to say is: I'm still alive! I'm still kicking! I'm still excited! And I might even graduate someday!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My office!

The view from my window... (Actually, the beautiful ocean in Puerto Rico...)

The view from my new office isn't actually quite that beautiful - though until they frost the inside windows of my advisor's office, I'll be able to see through her office to the bleak gray outside. The view aside, I'm really excited to have a place to call my own.

My desk at home is overflowing with binders, papers, and other random class materials. There is also a pile of last year's coursepack for the class I'm GSI-ing, and until this morning there were two stacks of exams (one graded, one waiting to be graded). I've also been using my advisor's office to hold office hours to meet with my students. All told, my academic career has been calling out for a dedicated space.

My "office" is really a corner desk, two locking file cabinets, and a coat closet shared with the other 3 corner desks in our large cubicle. I'm separated by about 3.5 feet of cube wall from the folks walking through the offices. It's about enough to keep people from being able to grab things off of my desk as they walk by, but not much else. That aside, I welcome the move. I'll post a real picture of my office once it's up and running.