Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reviewing my goals: Home, Blogging, and Metagoals

Here's my last progress report on my goals for 2012! I separately reviewed my academic and fitness goals.

Learn and perfect an easy, delicious vegetarian lasagna (and quiche) recipe. I've definitely got one in the works for quiche but no luck yet on the lasagna. I've made a few (3?) but none of them were my idea of a perfect veg lasagna.

No more ugly houseplants. I treated myself to some nice pots for some favorite plants and I've culled a few. More need to go, but I'd say none of the ones at home are truly ugly now.

Get the dog to walk better. In March we instituted a zero tolerance policy for pulling. The dog is doing much better! She's not perfect, but there is considerable improvement.

Visit at least half of the places on our must-see list for Big City. We aren't doing well on this list at all! I think we've only done 2 things.

Offset our carbon emissions. I've done nothing for this :-( Also, we recently traded in the car we bought last summer for a brand new car (a first for us) because interest rates are just so incredibly low (1.67% for us, which is a lower rate than my already low student loans) that it wasn't worth it to put another dime into that piece of crap we never should've purchased. I have to figure out how to work the carbon offset into our budget.

Blog at least once a week. I've just barely averaged 1 post per week, but it's been a bit sporadic. I kind of forgot about this goal so I'll try to keep it in mind.

Label my posts and keep them labeled. I haven't gone back through everything but I think I've covered the biggest gaps in labeling, and I'm keeping the new stuff labeled. To this I'd like to add that I want to direct readers to some of my most useful posts. I just need to spend some time thinking about which posts those are and how to do it.

Review goals quarterly. I had the best of intentions to review my goals at the end of March and it just didn't happen. Now my goal is to keep up!

Make weekly agendas for myself. I'm doing quite well with this one. Every Monday a friend and I email each other with our goals for the week and our self-report for how we did on goals for the previous week. About a month ago I started prioritizing each goal as A, B, or C and tried to do the A-list tasks earlier in the day. I am pleased with how things are going and it's great to have the accountability to and encouragement from my friend.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Reviewing my goals: Fitness

Before the end of June, I want to have reviewed all of my goals for 2012.

What were my fitness goals and how am I doing?

Do a sprint distance triathlon and one other race.
My mom and I recently chose a triathlon to do together in September! I am so excited! I still need to choose another race to do, and I need to be swimming more, which brings me to the next goal...

Exercise 4x or more per week.
I was able to exercise at least 4 times per week on some weeks, but so far this year I've only averaged 2.25 times per week. This summer it is much harder for me to exercise 4x per week because I'm only on campus 2x per week and making myself go to the gym for a scheduled class is the best way to get myself to exercise regularly. I need to make a plan for exercising on the other days, and I think it should generally involve running with the dog. I need a new pair of running shoes, though.

Do yoga once a week.
This I have just completely failed to do. Totally. I can't remember the last time I did yoga. I think this wasn't the right structure for this goal. I think if I revised this to be something like 30 minutes of yoga per week then it would be better. Also, I think I should do pushups on days that I don't otherwise exercise.

Revised! Goal: 30 minutes of yoga per week and pushups (following the level 1 plan here) if I don't do some other kind of exercise.

Go dancing at least 12 times.
I haven't kept very good track of this. I know I went once in January, once in April, once in May, and once so far in June. That's 4. I might have gone once more in there, but I'd say I have some catching up to do on my dancing. Noted!

Overall I'm not doing fabulously on my fitness goals but I have been exercising at least twice a week if nothing else, in addition to my bike commuting and walking to work. And now I've got a race to train for in September!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Resubmission stress

Do you think that the first paper you try to publish is the most difficult? What has your experience been? I'm on version 23,439 or something of the "short note" that I've written about here, here, and here (among other places). I've put another 33+ hours into it since it was submitted in December. It took more than 3 months to get a "revise & resubmit" decision, and we had 2 months to submit our revisions.

Sam and I wanted to resubmit before he left for Ukenzagapia. I had my major revisions done about 2 weeks before he left. Unfortunately, he didn't get to it. He said he'd do it in Ukenzagapia, but he had a zillion other things to do, so he couldn't. We were also waiting on feedback from Dr. K. We had to ask for a 1 week extension. Then we had to clarify what time zone the resubmission extension closed. The administrative person said yesterday, "I can extend this for an extra day to midnight 12 June" which I interpreted as the end of the day today.

This morning I had a moment of panic. I couldn't seem to resubmit the manuscript. I thought I really might burst into tears because I realized that midnight probably meant last night, not tonight. If you miss a resubmission deadline, then a manuscript has to be considered a new submission. This paper has been submitted to 4 different journals, beginning two and a half years ago. If I screwed this up by just a few hours because of a misunderstanding... I'd be crushed.

Thankfully, I didn't miss the resubmisison deadline. I solved the online account weirdness. And it is resubmitted! I feel so much better about this manuscript now- it has improved tremendously. I think it really might stick. Fingers crossed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Talking about finishing

Sam was away for a while in Ukenzagapia, so this week was the first day I saw since since I decided to finish. I told him I want to finish a year from now. He asked me why, and I said that I thought I could do it and should do it. My GRF ends then, so that's convenient, but I'm not worried about getting continued funding into the next year if necessary. He said that a year is kind of short time to finish. We talked through my chapters, and I really only have one written right now. I've got to turn out 4 more chapters. Two are in the works for Best Project. The other two I've got everything left to do.

He said that if I can get the first chapter of Best Project submitted (to a very good journal) by mid-August, then he thinks I can finish in a year. If I don't get it done then, he thinks I'll have to plan a longer timeline for sure. This puts a fire under my ass this summer. Oh boy.

I think it was important to have this conversation with Sam now so he knows what my intentions are and can help push me (which clearly he is), and also help me think about what's next. There are two projects (including Best Project) for which I could try to create-a-postdoc (i.e. write a grant to fund myself), but I think I'd rather wait and see what comes up.

For those of you who finished a MS or PhD, did you have a moment when you decided to finish? How far away was it when you decided? How long did you think it would take and how long did it actually?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why I love FSP

I drafted this post two and a half years ago, and clearly it's long overdue. On May 31, FSP said So Long and Thanks for All the Wombats.

Anyone who's any kind of science enthusiast should read what FemaleScienceProfessor has to say. I love her blog so much, and I'd like to explain why.

  1. She's prolific. She turns turned out about one awesome post per day. I wonder if she had them queued up and if so for how long?
  2. She's got history. She has been blogging blogged for 6 years and been a professor for many more. She's a full tenured professor in a field without many women. Clearly this woman has her shit together.
  3. It's never just the daily grind. She writes in a general way about her experiences, not just what she did today. Her blog is more than just some kind of public journal like mine- she writes for an audience.
  4. As far as I know, she's never been caught up in any petty blogging drama. Good for her.
  5. She published a book of her blog posts. How cool is that?
She might keep blogging at Scientopia, and her blog is still up, so you should still use it to extract some wisdom and experience while you can. FSP, your voice will be missed. Thank you for everything that you have written.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Reviewing my goals: Academic

One of my goals for 2012 was to review my goals quarterly. This is important, because I've learned that I forget goals! Thank goodness for written language. I've been meaning to sit down and write this blog post since, oh, March? Eek. Anyways, better late than never. I'm going to break this up into a few posts. Let's start with the big goals.

How am I doing on those academic/career goals?

Get something published in 2012. I am happy to report good progress on this front! Sam and I have a little note in press as of this week, and we're about to submit revisions to a journal for the paper I started way back when (2.5 years ago). AND, we submitted my interdisciplinary project, which wasn't even on my radar screen when I wrote these goals. That one has been submitted, rejected, and resubmitted already. Fingers crossed.

Submit Best Project for publication. I'm working on it. It's going to be two papers, not just one. Sam says I have to submit the first one by mid-August. I've written most of the methods (all except the stats) and I'm tackling a draft of the introduction, one paragraph at a time. The analysis is the hardest part of this process. 

Conceptualize my dream job(s). I'm not sure I have a dream job, although I did see a couple of jobs I was excited about. I think I could be happy doing many different jobs. I have a dream destination. Actually, two. If I could land a postdoc in RFC for a couple of years, and then get a job in Jon's Hometown, that would be awesome. That's my dream career path.

Give a talk at the big ecology conference and present at at least one other conference. Yes! I'm presenting at the Big One and presented at a different conference earlier this year. I intend to give a fabulous presentation for all 6 people that attend at the crappiest time ever assigned.

Do an outreach project. My outreach plan is unbloggable because it's awesome.

Update my webpage once a month. Hmm, I did great at this until April, at which point I think I forgot that it was supposed to be a monthly thing. I should be sure to do a good job in June! I'm also thinking of getting my own domain since I'm thinking about finishing.

Overall I think I'm making good progress on my academic goals. It really makes me feel good to have 3 manuscripts in various stages of resubmission/in press. Too bad only 1 of those is going to be in my dissertation.