Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Resolutions, 2017

Yes, yes, it's that time of the year again, when pointless promises to nobody in particular will be made, and we can then move on. I went back to what I said on Dec. 31, 2015, and I had mixed feelings. I met maybe half my resolutions - which isn't all that bad. But then, I realized that I just push some resolutions forward. Should I stop doing that? Or is perseverance a virtue here?

Well, at this point of time, I don't really care anymore. It's been a good year - not only did I have my first journal paper, I also had my second (both first author). I passed my qualifying exam, and ran several CFD simulations, simplistic as they might be. I TAed my first class, and retrained my mint-condition 4.0 GPA (why am I still proud of that?). I won an award at a conference, I made new contacts and started to establish myself beyond my adviser's shadow. I designed two new websites, learned Linux, Python, and LaTeX, significantly increased my knowledge of computational mechanics. And as if all that was not enough, I lost 25 lbs, dropped 4 inches in waist size, reinvented my diet. and finally, finally got my drivers license. And the cherry on top of the icing: I won a bet and saw Donald Trump win the election!

Could it get better? No, really. If winter comes, can spring be far behind, as Frost once asked? However, if spring is here, can winter be far behind? After such a spectacular year, is 2017 going to be a horrible one? Murphy's Law? Well... maybe. That's true for every year, and every day in fact. I am happy that this past week, I have probably been more productive than ever before. There are still some big-ticket items to get through, but a lot of ground has been covered. I'm not sure if 2017 will be bad, but it will be challenging, that is certain.

So let's add to the challenge and get it over with. Next year, as CEE Transportation Instructional Fellow (the first and maybe only?), I will teach my first class, the culmination of years of patience and steadfastness to be what I imagined. Will it be as wonderful as I had hoped, or will I, like so many of my peers, become disillusioned by the idea of having to teach a bunch of ungrateful undergraduates? Again, I have no idea, but I do intend to give it my very best - if for nothing else, because the kids are spending money, and deserve it. A simple transaction.

But there's more I intend to do next year. Yes, I finally hope to buy that car, and move into a studio. I hope to take my prelim next year, which will be crucial to meet expected timelines. That means I will have to finally master ANSYS and AWS, and maybe even write my own CFD code, all of which will be challenging, as a PhD should be. Of course, I hope to publish at least one more journal paper (I'm already guaranteed two more conference papers). I may finally stop taking courses to that end, but I am always open to taking any good, useful courses (which means almost none of those left in CEE). I hope to continue losing weight and reach my goal of 150 lbs - although that will be very challenging indeed. I would like to finally move to real strength training and build muscle, and maybe move cardio back to the park.

Well, that's quite a lot to do, and it will keep me busy. If I do it, that is. But hey, in predicting the future, anything goes, so why not aim that high up?

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