2015 #AnnualReview Part 3: 2016, the year of conviction

In the first part of my Annual Review, I talked about how 2015 went. Then I wrote about my goals. The last bit of the Annual Review process is to set a theme for the coming year and write out a summary for what I’d like it to be like.

The theme for 2016

I want 2016 to be the year of conviction. I’m using the definition “a firmly held belief or opinion.” What I mean by that is I want to believe strongly in myself and what I’m doing in 2016.

I feel that I’ve especially not had confidence in my PhD work. I don’t need to be the best, but I do need to have more confidence in myself so that I can complete this work. It’s hard, and I’m sure there are many books and blogs about this, but a PhD is a lonely road. One of the hardest parts is that you have to stop yourself from comparing yourself with others. In addition, your struggles are uniquely your own. Though there might be technical things that you can get advice and help on, the ins and outs of daily independent research are specific to your own work. Consequently, all advice is largely general and unspecific. Talking to people helps, and the PhD group in my department has gotten closer this semester so that is a move in the right direction.

This year’s motto

My motto for this year is “No more floating” because sometimes I feel like I’m just floating through life.

I want to have greater confidence in my choices in life, in the path that I’ve chosen (and to finish things on path like the PhD). My approach to life has generally always been that things will work out, and it has been harder to hold that view in the last few years. I want to go back to that, but in a more active sense than the usual passive one that I’ve had in the past.

Last words…for now

I finished writing up this Annual Review while in the airport during my 3+ hour layover in Madrid on Monday. It was nice to have nothing else on my plate, no internet to distract me, and just my words and people watching to pass the time. I wondered if those people sitting around me at Starbucks were happy with where their life was going, and where they were flying off to next.

I’m feeling good about 2016. I think the biggest conflict I will deal with is the struggle between whether to go home to New York after the PhD or somewhere else. In part, that isn’t up to me because I don’t decide where I find a job, but I also feel the pull of my family and my hometown.

As my mom says, “whenever what,” things will work out!

To the year of conviction!

What do you think of my Annual Review theme for this year?

Photo: kazuend