Sunday, January 17, 2010

In keeping tabs on some of my New Year's resolutions and holding fast to the many good things I have in my life, I've decided to document crucial quarterly words that I foresee as countervailing forces to the hectic nature of my life as a graduate student. In short, the following items are things that I am doing, will continue to do, and hope to ultimately be better for upon completion.

Organized. In combating some of the hellaciousness of last semester, you might be surprised to know that I finally have a desk! Yes, I too find it hard to believe that I survived a whole semester of graduate school without one, but I did. Although others said it was impossible to write papers at the office with fellow colleagues running about and talking to everyone, I managed to do it! Of course, I was also resolute about finishing my papers and frequently pushed people away because they were disrupting my creative flow.

In staying organized, I also purchased two desk calendars (one for school and one for home) and an agenda. Since I have three graduate classes, a language class, multiple races, I need to keep composed and orderly or else I might lose it. This also means that I will have to be rigidly responsible with my time. That is, as much fun as it is to drink with my fellow peers, it is more important to be dedicated to my quarterly projects than fall behind for the sake of socializing all the time.

Disciplined. This semester I am also learning Czech. However, it has already started off difficult. When I signed up for the course I did not realize that there was a course to be taken before this one. (Apparently the holds that would exist as prerequisite blocks for taking the continuation course do not exist here.) Therefore, I have to learn the first three chapters of the Czech language book with strong volition and a few meetings with a tutor.

Although this is my family's "mother" language (from about 60 years ago), I am finding it hard to pick up because the lip and tongue positioning and inflections required are challenging. In particular, the "Č" and "Ř" are incredibly difficult to pronounce in certain words. I know I will get them down in due time, though.

Fitness. Recently, I started a membership with a local gym so I can work on becoming more fit and find time to get some lighter runs in as I continue to learn more about outside running trails. The gym I'm with is nice, but what is even better is that I got a trainer. Yes, I know that having a trainer is not cheap, but I only have my trainer for eight weeks. After that time I hope I will have learned some key excises so that I can continue to whip my ass into shape. In the meantime, though, it will be nice to have someone pushing me to do more and reminding me that I can become fit if I workout and eat right. Also, my first assessment begins tomorrow. I'm sure I'll be labeled a raging fatass! Can't wait for that! Hahah!

Running. Of course, if training at the gym isn't enough to keep me active, I have also registered for three races. On February 6th, I'll get back into the competitive racing spirit with a nice and mellow 5k. There will be some light hills during this run, but it should be manageable and enjoyable. A month later, I will complete my first half marathon at the Roanoke Rapids Canal run. I have to admit that I am extremely nervous about this run, especially since I will be doing the training all by myself; yet I am also excited to push myself to do this. Finally, after I complete my first half marathon, I will be racing in the Tar Heel 10 miler. This course will be particularly challenging because of all of the hills, but I am hopeful that my half marathon training will keep me in tune for this run that finishes right in Kenan Stadium!

Forecasting. Naturally, I am concerned about moving out of my current apartment, and my lease doesn't expire until July. However, I have wanted to move out of this apartment complex ever since the first month. It's not the worse complex in the area, rather it is that some of the community members are incredibly annoying (like my neighbors), the rent is too expensive for the location and the supposed benefits, and I am too far away from almost everyone and everything. Therefore, a colleague and I are planning on moving into an apartment in April/May to save money and, hopefully be closer to the campus.

In the meantime, I am also looking for a summer job that I can do in the area or with the park service. This is tricker, though, because I want to be within the area and, ideally, I would only like a part time job. If, however, I am strapped for cash, I will take on a full time job and rock my summer into the second year of my Ph.D. program. For now, though, I'm not thinking too hard about the summer or the job situation. I know it will sort itself out in time, and I know that I will be just fine, albeit a bit tore up from the high impact of this quarter of this year of my life.

Eh-o! Here's to the start of an incredible new year that will be my year!


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