I started out my week feeling stressed and overwhelmed. School, money (or lack thereof, thanks to returning to a grad student income), a general lack of time to do the things I need to do (nevermind that I’m sitting here writing a blog post when I should be reading more journal articles), and lots of self-doubt in terms of my ability to come up with a research project idea that I could really get behind and not feel like I was just spinning my wheels on something that didn’t really get me excited. It wasn’t pretty.
But I decided that rather than let it get to me, I was just going to slowly chip away at the things that were looming over me and causing me stress. I got an exam back in class (my first exam since 2005), and ended up doing better than I anticipated – thank goodness. It still wasn’t wonderful, but I’ll take it. In the afternoon, I taught my class, and then had my office hours. No one ever comes to office hours, so I spent that time playing around with my budget and really making it bare bones. It’s still super tight, but at least it’s not as bad as it was before. It’s been a big adjustment to go from a salary with extra summer income on top of that, to a sad, sad little grad student stipend. But I can’t complain. In a lot of fields, you get nothing. So I’m extremely thankful that I get funding to cover my tuition and most of my living expenses.
After getting to the point where looking at my budget at least didn’t make my heart start to pound, I found a couple part time faculty jobs that were posted and applied for those. So hopefully I hear something back soon. That would be ideal – extra income, and I get to continue teaching. Fingers crossed.
In the afternoon, I came home and walked the dogs for an hour. The day started out quite freezing (I biked to work in my winter jacket with another one underneath it, plus two layers of gloves, a hat, and a scarf), but by the afternoon, it was pretty glorious. So the dogs and I walked and enjoyed the amazing views of the mountains (they never get old).
I was supposed to meet a friend for a ride in the afternoon, but things were just too crazy, so we pushed it back to later in the week. Instead, later that night, I set up my new pain cave, turned out the lights, put on my headphones (so I didn’t drive my sweet roommate too crazy), and powered away to a Sufferfest video (There Is No Try). I made sure that I could be proud of myself and my effort when I was done. It was hard, but it also felt great at the same time. I’m pretty sure my roommate heard me grunting and swearing all through it though. There was many a “sonofabitch!” thrown around for that hour.
The other good thing about adjusting the budget is that my food budget has significantly decreased. Now, normally, this wouldn’t be a good thing. But I think it’s going to help keep me from all my mindless snacking. I do it ALL. THE. TIME. And I don’t need to. My challenge is to eat very healthily, and do it for very cheaply.
Tuesday was a great day! I was planning on getting out for a run in between my classes, but that didn’t happen. However, it was for a really good reason. While I was in my first class, someone said something and it was like a light bulb going off. I came up with my Ph.D. research project! So I spent the time in between classes digging into that. It was a HUGE relief. I had been so incredibly stressed about that for months now. I had had this nagging feeling of I had a job that I loved, with coworkers that I loved, that paid well. I lived in a place I loved. I had the best friends. I had a wonderful relationship. And I gave it all up. FOR WHAT??? At least now I feel like I’m getting somewhere.
Wednesday was also a really great day. I had a meeting with a couple faculty members, in which I ended up walking out of there with a side project/job that is really incredible and I’m super excited about.
Then, after my meeting, I went out for a run. I decided to keep with the HIIT theme, so I did some ass-busting intervals. I had to be back for another class soon after that, so it had to be short. But I did 3 miles, with an overall average pace of 10:00/mile. HOWEVER, that was including my walk intervals. My run intervals were around 8:30/mile. I was huffing and puffing, but it felt good!
Thursday was pretty uneventful. Went to class and had a rest day. Not much to report here. But sometimes that’s a good thing.
Friday, my awesome week of progress continued! In the morning, I received an email from someone at one of the local community colleges asking if I was interested in teaching one of their spring courses. This wasn’t even one of the positions I applied for earlier in the week. This was just out of the blue! AND the class is the one that is my absolute favorite to teach. Sign me up!
Most of the day was productive, and then in the afternoon, I got out for a great (but slow) ride with a friend. We climbed up Red Rocks, which was awesome and gorgeous, and rode all around that area. I absolutely love riding out here. Everywhere you turn, it’s just one beautiful place after another.
After a great post-ride beer and dinner, it was time to head home and get ready for Saturday’s field trip.
Saturday started out promising. The field trip was supposed to be down to southern Colorado to look at the KT boundary layer (material from the impact that killed the dinosaurs). We stopped at a couple places on the way down – including lunch at Garden of the Gods, which was beautiful.
After lunch and walking around Garden of the Gods, we attempted to drive about two hours south to check out the impact layer. But there was a football game at the Air Force Academy that afternoon, and they were playing Notre Dame, so the traffic was horrendous. So much so, that we barely moved at all. Eventually, we gave up, and turned around. Bummer.
Later that night, I got home to a sick dog. After cleaning up the disgusting mess, I had to rush her to the emergency vet. Thankfully, everything was completely fine, but I didn’t want to risk it. My dogs are my kids, and I don’t mess around when things could be serious. I’m so glad she was fine.
Overall, it was a long day.
Sunday dawned puke-free, so that was good. I ended up spending the whole day in Denver for a conference. It was really great to see several of my former coworkers, former students, and my old masters adviser. The conference continues into this coming week, so I have plenty of things coming up too!