week 14 reflections

This final week was extremely stressful for both academic and personal reasons, with a lot of monumental things happening in my life. I got a job offer and knew I would have to submit my resignation from my current position before I left for a three-week vacation. The compound stress of resigning from a job I’ve had for five years and of being on a plane for the first time since the pandemic — and also worrying if I’d even be able to get on the plane, or if I’d get COVID in this week’s surge in cases — all definitely affected the pace of my academic work and my health in general. Thank goodness I had started writing my lit review the past weekend, or I definitely would not have had it done by the deadline. 

I was finally able to get back into a writing mindset on Wednesday, and must have spent about seven hours finishing my lit review and starting my intro. I was really hoping to be done by Wednesday night so I’d have Thursday off during my birthday to just relax, but that didn’t happen. I struggled a lot to get the intro up to the word count, a problem I definitely did not have in my lit review (there, I had so much I wanted to include, I almost went over the limit, even after being as succinct as I found possible). I got to a certain point Wednesday night where I just couldn’t think of anything else to say in the intro, and I was well over a thousand words short, so I decided to sleep on it and start over in the morning. I asked my husband to read it and give me his thoughts on what I could expand on, which was very helpful. With a fresh look, I got the intro done by midday on Thursday.

Despite how grueling it was, the process of writing the intro and lit review did help me streamline, clarify, and focus on what I really wanted to make. It sucked to go through at the current moment, but I am glad I was able to get something good out of it. I felt a bit sad about all the notes I had that I just could not fit in, but I’m still happy about the research I did (I can’t say I regret any of it) because the topic is really meaningful to me, and in the end I enjoyed every part of the research. Sharing the chapters with a few friends, I got comments that really meant a lot to me — that despite them not knowing anything about the topic, they enjoyed reading it a lot; that my writing was approachable and not too dense. This is exactly the tone I want to hit in whatever I write, so it’s hard to describe how happy it made me in my exhausted state. I feel focused about what I want to do over the break — though I am definitely taking the next week off, or else I’m gonna explode — and over the next semester.