Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking ahead to 2009

Last year I wrote about my hopes and dreams for 2008 and I'm doing the same for 2009. It's interesting for me to look back on it now, although I wish I'd thought to review last year's goals a few times throughout the year, too!

2009 will be an exciting year for us with quite a bit of traveling. Jon and I are getting married in April and I'll have my first real field season in Ukenzagapia. We're attending at least one wedding in addition to our own (almost inevitably there will be more as we seem to be that age). We're also planning to attend Obama's inaugural festivities in Washington, DC later this month. As Jon says, it's probably the most historic event of our lifetimes that we'll know about in advance.

After moving annually for the past 5 years, I really, truly think we're staying put in 2009. Going to Ukenzagapia for 3 months doesn't count since we'll keep our apartment and Jon will be here for most of the summer. I'm sad to be missing most of summer and the container gardening opportunities that go along with it, but I have to remind myself that it's only one summer. Maybe Jon can at least grow some basil while I'm gone. My plan is to be here for summer 2010.

Academic goals:
1) Prelims! They're happening in March. This is an important milestone in my career and I'll become a Ph.D. candidate. During this process I'll have to figure out what data I plan to collect this summer.
2) Finally publish the damn review paper. I really will, even though I thought I'd get it done in 2008.
3) Collect and analyze data from my first field season. This should turn into one or two small papers, but at best they'll probably be rough manuscripts by the time 2009 is out.
4) Get the friggin' NSF Graduate Research Fellowship or complete applications for other fellowships in the likely event that that doesn't happen.
5) Continue to seek opportunities to communicate my research to non-scientists.

Personal goals:
1) I really want to exercise regularly and frequently. Last semester I went to the gym an average of once per week, which was an improvement from last spring when I hardly went at all and suffered the consequences. I had weird back pains and I think it was from my lack of exercise. In order to get physically fit before going to Ukenzagapia, I would like to train for a sprint triathlon. Mariyah wants to do one too, so now we've got to find one and start training. I really suck at swimming so that will be a particularly big challenge for me. Between my prelims, a friend's wedding, my own wedding, and leaving for Ukenzagapia, finding a triathlon in the spring may be difficult!
2) I failed miserably at contributing to my IRA this year. I'm going to use the extra money I've been setting aside for taxes (they aren't taken out of my paycheck) for a contribution to the 2008 tax year, and then I'm going to automatically invest a set amount every month, maybe $200. I did this while working at Mid-Atlantic Field Station with great success, though we were also living well below our means and saving as much as we could for our trip to Remote Foreign Country.
3) This year I would like to start making monthly contributions to Small Friendly College and continue my small monthly donations to public radio. I'll make one-time contributions to other organizations.
4) In 2008 we succeeded in getting birthday and Christmas gifts for the kiddos in our lives, and this year we want some of them to visit us in Big City. Making this happen may be difficult considering that the best time is probably summer when they're out of school- but I'll be in Ukenzagapia.
5) I want to go dancing at least once per month. I love dancing and it is tragic that I can count on one hand how many times I've gone out dancing in the past two (maybe even three) years.

As far as blogging goes, I would like to foster more discussion on this blog. I seem not to be very good at it, so that is something I would like to improve in 2009.

The economic recession is sure to play an important role in 2009, though I'm unsure how it will affect me directly. Jon's employment is secure though it may slow down. My fellowship lasts until spring 2010 so I'm not dependent on TA positions that may be cut. A friend from high school and my uncle have both been laid off, but none of my immediate family members (nor Jon's) are in imminent danger of losing their jobs. I am very thankful for this, but my heart goes out to those who are unable to make ends meet. I hope that we will be able to rebuild our economic systems, infrastructure, and conservation ethic as a result of this disaster.

Finally, dear readers, I would like to leave you with a question that has been on my mind, How am I going to make the world a better place in 2009? How can I be the change I want to see in the world?

I haven't come close to answering it myself, but if you've figure out how you're going to make the world a better place this year, please do share!


sarcozona said...

That's a big set of goals, but I bet you'll get them done. I'm taking an intro swimming class this year and have committed to go swing dancing with my housemate once a week.

Karina said...

Thanks sarcozona. That's great that you're going dancing once a week!