Tuesday, January 6, 2009

True Confessions

One of my favourite aspects of blogs like Chick with PhizzleDizzle and FemaleScienceProfessor is their ability to tell their readers so much about what's going on in their lives, thanks to their anonymity. I really appreciate hearing exactly how they feel about their work, research, and colleagues, and details about the challenges they've encountered. Their stories let us know that we aren't alone!

Long ago, I decided to reveal my identity for this blog because I had intended it to be a strictly professional endeavour. I still do. Still, I figured there were a few confessions of my own that I could make, even out here in the open.

Research

One thing I wish I had done more of during my undergrad is research. Looking back, I know that even my fourth year honour's project could have been many times better had I had any previous experience.

It's not like there weren't opportunities, either. NSERC has an Undergraduate Student Research Award that allows undergrads to work with professors over the summer, earning a decent paycheck on the way. I'm pretty sure I had heard about these, but never for a second thought I'd ever be doing research, so didn't look into it. After all, my plans were always to work in industry after I graduated.

Even now, I sometimes wonder whether I'm on par with some of my fellow students. (That could just be a touch of the impostor syndrome kicking in, though.) On the bright side, it's been quite clear how I've improved since starting grad school, which is kind of the whole point I suppose. ;)

Doing Too Much

I guess you could call this one my 'guilty pleasure,' and perhaps attribute my feelings of (slight) research inferiority to it. The truth is that I love to get my hands into many, many things. It makes grad school a much more fulfilling experience. To give you an idea of just how crazy I am, let me list just a few of the things I've been doing just in the last few weeks:
Truth be told, while I certainly don't have as much time to spend on any one of these things, I do tend to get more done when I have some pressure applied. I'm more likely to get up on time rather than sleep in, for example. Still, sometimes I wonder why I put myself through it...

Inkscape

This one actually makes me really sad. I really enjoyed working on Inkscape when I did the Summer of Code, and owe a lot to the folks over there, it being my first (and only) experience with open source development. I continuously thought that I'd be able to work on it 'next semester' but constantly had way too much on my plate to actually do so (see above). Even publicly stating my hope to get back at it failed. Although I can't say when, I really do hope to get back on board and contribute once again.

Moving Away

You might laugh at me for this one. I'm scared of moving away by myself, even for just a semester. I've only moved once in my life, and that was when my fiancé and I bought a place four houses away from my parents. Seriously. So the thought of living by myself to work for, say, Google for a few months is actually pretty much terrifying.

I know it won't be bad once I get there (wherever 'there' is), and I know that it'll be worth it. I'm also not going to let it stop me from taking certain opportunities as they come my way. I'm just going to feel really, really nervous until I actually do it. :)

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So there you have it. Some of my true confessions. Now you know me just a little bit better. Feel free to comment and tell me about yours.

2 comments:

PhizzleDizzle said...

moving can be a fun adventure! i've moved (if you consider moving for an internship a move) probably 10 times. the adjustment period is always interesting and allows for a lot of self-reflection as you get used to your new surroundings. i hope you take to it with gusto! don't be afraid! :)

Gail said...

Thanks for the encouragement :) Right now I'm looking at doing an internship in the fall. Plenty of time to psych myself up for it! (I hope, heh)

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