Scientiae this month is hosted at Jokerine's place. She has a bunch of excellent suggestions about what to post about and I decided to write on one of them: a year-end review.
This year has been rather stressful for me. It started with the Match fiasco and ended with Dr. Man moving to Dodge. This is the first (and hopefully the last) time that we have to live apart for a significant amount of time. Everyone told me that grad school can place stress on a marriage, I just didn't think it would LDR type stress. (Honestly, with all the stuff going on this year Dr. Man has helped keep me sane and in my program.)
Additionally, there was Quals. That bears repeating: Qualifying Exam. This was definitely the hardest exam I have ever taken and the most stressful. It was exhausting, but rewarding. When I passed, I was exhilarated. It was my biggest academic accomplishment. I'm not sure if the Qualifying Exam should be so stressful, but I by the end of it I definitely knew what I knew and what I didn't know. (I suppose the QE deserves a post of its own sometime... when I have more perspective).
With the passing of my QE, somehow I moved up in the world to being a more “mature graduate student.” By mature, I mean more responsibility. Suddenly, it feels, that I started mentoring my own undergrads and being responsible (entirely) for my projects. Up until this point, I feel like I had a bit more supervision by Advisor. It seems that know that I've undergone this rite of passage, I'm an “adult” in the lab and am treated as such. So, while it is nice to direct my project (myself), it is a bit... well... scary.
I, also, started this blog and made connections (and by connections I mean read and empathize) with other women in the STEM fields and graduate students in all sorts of fields. That has been the most helpful and wonderful part of this blog; no longer being alone in graduate school.
This year has also had some pretty cool accomplishments. Such as: passing my quals, successfully mentoring an undergrad, and publishing my first first-author paper. All thing that I couldn't have imagined doing six months ago.
All-in-all 2007 has been an O.K. year. I've had some bad parts and some good parts. Times when I cried and hated being in grad school. And times when I've been elated and happy to be right here. I think, in the end, all that one can hope for is for the good stuff to outweigh all the bad stuff. Or at least, make the good stuff count more than the bad.
Here's to 2008.