Semester 2 goals and things

I’ve been meaning to write down my goals coming up on this second semester. Naturally, as one of my goals is to stop doing things so last-minute, I decided to leave this until the last minute. But technically the semester hasn’t started yet, so that’s fine. I’m going to pick 4. While they aren’t all directly school-related, a lot of these are going to help me face school things and make my life easier.

  1. Work on staying less frazzled — I say this because I will be embarking on data collection with at least 2 projects this semester (well, as long as my project is approved, I’m crossing my fingers). I remember the last time I did data collection, I was stressed and frazzled every single day.
    Luckily, because of my previous data collection being so wild with facility access, things breaking constantly, and not even being there half the time, I’ve experienced enough mishaps that nothing much will be able to surprise me. At the very least, the basic issues of scheduling conflicts and random equipment breaking is not going to scare me too badly, which is a win.
    I just want to be calm. Schedule things without making myself feel too rushed, but also just let it happen when it happens. I want to take things one day at a time and just know that a lot can be fixed with some grit, determination, perseverance, and teamwork. This also includes finding a therapist who can help me navigate these likely treacherous waters.
  2. Dive more in-depth on statistics. I am aware of my overall goal to always do high-quality research, so I want to make sure that I’m doing due diligence here. Though I made quite a few decisions with my Masters project, I felt intimidated by the statistics, and I didn’t run them myself because I didn’t have to — so I didn’t even try and learn. I truthfully did not know at the time that I would be getting my PhD so soon after my Master’s program. So I wish I had learned more earlier, but I know it’s never too late. I definitely put this as one of my goals last semester, but this is a fear I must conquer. When I say fear, I mean a fear of failure — that I won’t be good enough, but if I never try, that’s a bigger issue.
  3. Sleep. More. Have good sleep hygiene. I’ve been doing well for the past week, but I know how it can change as soon as water polo and school and research start up again. But when I have good sleep, I am in a much better mood, I’m more productive, I’m more positive. It just makes things a lot easier and it requires a lot of discipline for myself that I think will have some nice carryover to other habits of mine. Also, being nearly late to things because I keep waking up too late because I’m exhausted going to bed at 1am — this is not a good time for anyone.
  4. Recognize that one mistake, one failure, one misstep does not mean I’m a bad person, bad student, bad researcher, or an idiot, or whatever else I tell myself I am. In this list of types of “Automatic Negative Thoughts”, or ANTs, that would be number 3 — the mental filter, where “you pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water”. I learned this concept last semester and it’s stuck with me ever since then, because I realized I have spent my entire life thinking this way.
    The idea that one failure could define who I am as a person seems silly to me right now, in this calm state of mind, but I know that when I’m in a heightened emotional state, it’s all I can think about.

Just a few small things. I know I will set more concrete goals with my advisor, so that’s for later, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself. I mean, a lot of these things are more general life things to do, but I am extremely certain that I will run into these issues with specific things in this specific semester. I’ll have ample opportunity to practice these, I already know that. Oh, lastly? I want to read. At least 10 pages a day of a rather tough, self-help type of book. And then after that I can read my fun books.

Well, I guess we’ll see how this goes.

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