Friday, December 30, 2005

Thoughts on 2006

I am a planner. We have at least three wall calendars around the house, and I carry a PDA that is always synchronized with my Outlook calendar which is shared with my work colleagues. I love to plan, strategize, and get things down in my calendar. I find that people rely on me to have important events stored in my calendar, along with an up-to-date address book and stuff like that. "Rob, when's the last day of classes?" or "Do you have so-&so's phone number?" I suppose that's the more "type A" side of my personality.

What's funny, though, is that if a plan does not worked out as I, um, planned it (my word-choice creativity level is ZERO today), I typically just move on and develop a new plan. For example, if you've been reading this for a while then you may have noticed that I changed my dissertation writing plan about three times in the past year. That "relaxed" attitude usually is limited to planning things for myself. With things I plan for others, those must be kept on schedule. I'm pretty conscientious about that. This tells me that I can plan well as long as it involves something external to myself. So, am I putting myself on the back burner?

I bring this up because it's starting to hit me that 2006 is no longer the year in which I will finish my Ph.D. There's simply no way: I've not started to write anything officially for my dissertation, and I still have to write, edit, and defend the proposal let alone conduct the research itself. It's been in my mind for a long time that this will all be said and done during the 2006 year, while I'm 35 years old and about 10 years out from my master's degree. And now that ain't gonna happen.

OK, OK, so I'll be 36 and 11 years out from the Master's (said as keeping my fingers crossed and lighting a candle). Big deal. However, when I reflect on it I find it hard to fathom that there have been only seven years of my adult life when I have not been in school: one year prior to my master's and six full-time before coming to LMU. Where has the time gone?? My practical friends would slap me around and remind me that I am gaining work experience while I'm in school. OK, whew. So that means I've been in the higher education field for almost twelve years, if you count the time while I was in my master's program (which most employers do count). That makes me feel a little better. And the main difference now is that I truly enjoy what I'm doing, which isn't something I could say as confidently just a few years ago.

Perhaps I should stop planning so much and focus more on living in the present and DOING. Now there's a novel idea. Perhaps that's my New Year's resolution? Plan less and do more. It has a good ring to it.


lemming said...

Thanksgiving always includes at least one cousin asking me what grade I'm in this year.

Yes, it's scary, but ithe decades of schooling are work related experience and the means to a positive end.

Joe said...

I got pretty bummed out in year 3 or 4 of my Master's degree... seemed like the damned thing was never going to end. But it did.

Now, as a job interviewer, there's no doubt in my mind that being able to comment on the schooling process itself is far more important to me than your transcript or the dates by the degrees. And experience carries a heck of a lot of weight.

Keep on climbing!

Rob said...

Thanks, guys, for being practical friends!