New year, new life for the blog!

Hi all! As you might have noticed, I changed the template for the blog. Yay! Still plenty of things need to be changed, like making this more colorful again, but I am excited for now having an image that is more cohesive with me. So, stay with me this year 🙂

I stared the New Year in New York City, where I was feeling in my bones the second coldest NYE of all time (-14ºC = 8ºF). I didn’t even bother to stay that long in Times Square and spent the New Year on Brooklyn Bridge instead. So, now that I ticked off this life goal of spending the New Year there, next year I will hope for somewhere warmer, like Sydney? Dreaming much?

Times Square…way before midnight. You almost can’t see the ball.

So, now that I am back in Boston for the new year, I am also entering my last month working at MIT. So many emotions this year that I still can’t even process. I have some goals for this month, which I now share with you:

Make the most out of Independent Activities Period (IAP)

The Independent Activities Period (IAP) of MIT is the period between semesters where students are encouraged to learn something new in a condensed way. I already registered for a few activities, such as figure skating classes, tips for making better posters and oral presentations, scientific journalism seminars, and more!

Submit my first manuscript

I ended 2018 by sending my first manuscript to my supervisors and I am still waiting for them to provide some feedback, which is normal. But this was such a hard process that I hope it finally comes to an end with the submission. I know what it feels like to take a long time to have a research article published, rejections and so on, but I am confident I can do this.

Manuscript Submission PhD comics
All credits: PhD Comics

Travel to my 22nd US State

So, after 21 states visited, I have a lot to write about, I know. On my 21th state (Hawaii), we had a 6h flight delay and we got a Delta $100 voucher each as a compensation. For the seemingly last trip before we leave MIT, we decided on a direct flight that would be affordable and pretty different from what we saw.  So, we’re bound to Tennessee! In about 2 weeks I will post stories about this country music heaven and also about the Great Smoky Mountains, which is the most visited National Park in all the United States. Who knew, when we foreigners hear much more about Yosemite, Yellowstone or Grand Canyon?

Winter Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
This is what I expect to find in the Great Smoky Mountains. Photo credits: Christopher Place

Daily goal of 1000 words/day for PhD thesis

This seems a tough sell but, as a person who loves to write, this is fine for me. I am trying to engulf all the knowledge I gathered from these two years of PhD thesis and start writing more on the Introduction and Methods sections of my thesis in parallel with coding and generating results. I realized, after I made an assessment of what felt good to me or not, that writing in the morning would make me more motivated. What about you? What are your favorite tasks to do according to periods of the day?

Write more frequently on the blog

This is a recurrent theme here and something that I would like to do. I am sure that would help me a lot. Until I forget more important details of the trips I have been into. I feel that I have been worn out by social media lately so I will not focus as much on that lately, and I will focus more on what I really like, which is writing. I am going to invest on an e-book and an improved newsletter to bring you the new contents I’m also going to be focused on, which lead me to the next goal…

Tips on tools for career development for grad students…and not only!

As I did some exercises on career development and finding my life’s purpose, I found out about the lack of resources I used to have back home in Portugal and how lost I felt. I also felt lost on the blog. Career wise, I didn’t feel like a scientist anymore. I knew I liked science communication, but it felt exhausting to write about it on the blog. I was also feeling I missed my purpose. I liked traveling on a budget, but I came to a point where I didn’t feel like traveling anymore and my finances were a bit off track. Also, whenever I write on the blog about travel, I try to make it look like a travel blog, but that’s not what energizes me anymore. So, I found out that all the career development tools I have been trying (some more conventional than others…) are helping me to align with what I like. So, on the blog, I will keep on:

  • Writing about PhD lifestyle and all the hardships, no BS. I won’t lie, my routines completely changed here in the US, for good and for bad.
  • Writing about my travels and how they inspired me and at the same point stressed me. Not too detailed descriptions of the places, I will leave that for Pinterest boards that I will post as good resources on this.
  • Writing about the challenges of career development and how I have been finding my purpose for after PhD. It’s one year from now, aaargh!

I am also thinking about opening new channels for other articles related with scicomm and more technical grad school ideas as Cátia and not as Pulgarita.

So, now that I finished posting about my goals for this month (and how the direction of the blog will change a little), I’m excited to learn about what are the directions you think about for 2018. What are your goals? Let me know in the comment section!


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