A semester (#3) wrap-up

Well, that was one hell of a semester. Everyone who told me that your PhD just gets harder…was very right. I mean, I knew it was true, but you don’t really get it until you go through it, you know? So, it’s time to take a look at all the goals I set for myself before the semester and see how I did with them.

How am I doing on my Year 2 goals that I set during my 7-in-7? This is a presentation all the PhD students in my department do each fall to show what we’ve done and what we’re planning to do — and we have to do 7 slides in 7 minutes. Here are the 4 things my advisor & I planned:

  • Finish my reliability study, submit abstracts to NATA & ACSM: hey, I did this! I finished data collection on my first-year project/reliability study, and managed to submit my abstracts to both of these conferences. I submitted the ACSM abstract on the due date…and started it about 5 days previously, so that was a rough few days.

How am I doing on my “requirements for sanity” that I set for my semester on my own?

  • Maintain gym/water polo schedule — oop. This did not pan out. It turns out that I can’t really do both, and I am going to stop doing both now because of my concussion history. I am going to coach, though — that’s the plan. But I was spending a lot of energy forcing myself to go to the gym & I wasn’t even really enjoying it anymore. So I took basically the entire semester off, especially after I fell off my bike, because I finally realized that I was running myself ragged. I was trying to do too much & moving & thinking too quickly, and it was time to stop & prioritize. It was the right thing at the time because now I’m excited to get back into the gym!

How am I doing on my actual goals that I set for my semester?

  • Office hours — oops. Ok, so this did not happen. But I think I overwhelmed myself slightly with work outside of classes…but this will need to happen next spring.

This is the first time in a very long time where I feel like I actually achieved things. A lot of last year was just learning how to be a PhD student, but I felt productive & very occasionally loved running around feeling like I was a chicken with my head cut off, in a weird way. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel entirely lost sometimes, but I still feel muuuuch better than I did last year. Plus, this semester I got a learning lab lecture accepted at a state conference, reviewed a paper, and started doing data collection for a DOD-funded project which is a super cool feeling. These were all things I’ve wanted to do, & I did them!

I’m really proud of myself. And I’m really proud of being able to be proud of myself, because that’s a really, really hard thing for me to do. Up next: one more semester of classes…and I am excited to be done with them, but it’ll be my last semester of classes ever, which is horrifying! More to come on that in a separate post because I’ll have a lot of different opportunities pop up for me…



Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.

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Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.