Here we are at the end of 2012. It often surprises me that we are so far into the 21st century. It had its rough spots, but it has culminated in several good notes, and I think next year is going to be awesome.
…is OVER! You are now reading a blog written by a bonafide doctor of philosophy!
It feels really good to know that the past ten years of my life have FINALLY come to fruition. Like so many others, the road to my doctorate was rough. The past few years have truly tested my determination and in many ways it seems like I have sacrificed so much to get where I am today. Honestly, I am not sure whether it was worth it, but dwelling on that question serves little purpose. Twelve years ago I made a list of five things I wanted to accomplish with my life. Two (and a half) of them are now crossed off. Three (or two and a half depending on how you look at things) more to go.
Now comes the hard part. I am done with grad school, but I have to figure out what the hell I am going to next. I need a full-time job, but I am currently unable to move away from where I am living. This means I cannot chase the job market – I am going to have to take whatever I can…and pray that someone will want me. My Ph.D. is in a social science field, which means it does not translate very well to the non-academic job market. So, finding a full-time job is going to be tricky.
I am currently teaching “part-time” at a tiny college in my area. I say “part-time” because in a tenure track, the number of courses I am teaching would actually be full-time. Alas, I am not being paid as such. I will not even be able to make ends meet with my present salary, hence the need for a full-time job. Nevertheless, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to keep my feet in the academic pool by teaching. Four and a half years ago I moved home, which meant I was no longer able to teach at the university where I got my degree. So, to have any kind of teaching job now means that when it comes time for a full-time academic position I am in better shape.
Back in April of this year, I started this blog. At the time, I thought the end of my grad school career was much closer. I had decided it was time to return to my dream of becoming an author. That list I have? Well, becoming an author is one of the five items. I also decided long ago that academic publications do not count. I want to be a fiction author…not that I have any academic publications yet, either. Another problem for getting a full-time academic job, but let me not digress.
Keeping up with this blog was harder than I imagined. Part of that was because I became consumed with finishing my dissertation. I was superstitious about posting because I didn’t want to jinx anything. I knew it was stupid, but I just wanted to be done! Now I am, so I feel free to write here again.
I missed NaNoWriMo this year because I had to revise my dissertation. I was going to make my own NaNoWriMo in January, but I don’t feel ready yet. I have so much to do in January – I do not want to set myself up for failure. Perhaps I will try for March. This, of course, does not preclude me from creative writing in the meantime.
So, no completed novel from 2012, but I will make it one of my goals to finish a complete novel for 2013. One way or another.
I read 11 fiction books last year. ELEVEN! That is not even a book a month. I mean, I read a ton of books over the course of the year – they were all just non-fiction for my dissertation. And technically, two of those fiction books were read in the past couple of weeks since I finished my dissertation. Next year, particularly because I want to write my own fiction novel, I want to read a lot more.
It is funny how many productive things I could find with which to procrastinate while working on my dissertation. Now that I am finished, I’ve watched an awful lot of television. Starting Wednesday, I have to start forcing myself to be more productive with my days.
In no particular order, here is a list of things I want to accomplish over the next year:
– learn to computer program (Python, SQL, Java, C++…in that order).
– become proficient with Photoshop
– write and submit at least three academic articles for publication
– develop a new direction of research (probably gender in gaming), which also means I need to…
– learn how to play Starcraft II
– write a novel
– use SPSS to analyze quantitative data regarding gaming
– read at least 100 fiction books
– develop healthier eating and exercise habits (like I said, I sacrificed a lot for my dissertation)
– redirection and blog with consistency
– acquire a full time job with a “real” salary (“real” meaning something commensurate with a professional position)
I would also like to work on having a more positive outlook. I worry a LOT. This is a side-effect of the grief over losing my father four years ago. I never fully dealt with that grief. Lately, I seem to live with an almost constant anxiety about getting older and I am not yet forty. Yes, there are things I still want to accomplish with my life, but I also want to enjoy it along the way.
Now, I realize this list is rather ambitious. And somewhat eclectic. I haven’t figured out how to whittle it down, or prioritize it. Obviously, things like finding a job must come first. But, now that I FINALLY accomplished my most recent goal (the doctorate), I am excited about what will come next. I also feel my interests pulled in multiple directions. So, I suppose that will be something to deal with in the coming year as well.
Happy New Year!
I wish all my fellow bloggers a wonderful and fulfilling year to come.